Regents expected to pass grad school tuition increase

The increases are a result of the state budget cuts.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is expected to vote Wednesday in favor of a budget that will increase graduate school tuition by more than 7 percent for in-state students. According to the proposed budget, the tuition increase for Twin Cities in-state graduates would be 7.5 percent, nonresidents would have a 4.6 percent increase. Regent Steven Hunter , who is the vice chair of the BoardâÄôs Finance and Operations Committee , said he will vote in support of the budget, albeit reluctantly. âÄúThe Legislature and the governor have put us between a rock and a hard place,âÄù Hunter said. âÄúWe canâÄôt print money, so we have to raise tuition to make up for some of these cuts.âÄù While most graduate program tuitions will increase by 7.5 percent or less, incoming in-state law students will see a larger tuition jump than most. Patrice Shaus, the assistant dean for administration and finance at the Law School , said these students will see a more than 14.8 percent tuition increase. University spokesman Daniel Wolter said the tuition hike is caused by a variety of circumstances, among them, the state budget cuts. Another reason for the increase is to make the UniversityâÄôs grad schools more competitive in their respective fields, both Shaus and Wolter said. Wolter stressed that along with higher tuition, all graduate school programs will be more generous with financial aid. He explained that although the University has approximately twice the undergraduate students as graduate students, the graduate students receive twice as much financial aid as undergraduates. Wolter said that in the 2008 fiscal year, graduate students received $225 million in financial aid and scholarships, compared to the $110 million that undergraduates received. The budget states 5,000 graduate students and 1,500 professional students at the University currently receive support. Regent Clyde Allen, Jr. , who will be voting in favor of the budget, also stressed financial aid. âÄúWhat needs to be emphasized is that we do have a sizeable amount of financial aid,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôve put together, I think, a âĦ very good budget given the kind of economic times that we are in and the cutbacks that weâÄôve had from âĦ the state Legislature and governor,âÄù Allen said. Kaitlin Johnson , an executive board member on the UniversityâÄôs Graduate and Professional Student Assembly , said she thinks graduate students will be frustrated with the tuition hike. âÄúIâÄôm sure there will be a lot of frustration from people who have to delay their progress to take another job or âĦ go part time [at school],âÄù Johnson said. She said many graduate students have already seen cuts to their financial aid and that additional tuition increases will make it hard for students to get by. âÄúWe need to be concerned about the affordability of the grad school,âÄù Hunter said. âÄúBut I donâÄôt see any other option at this point.âÄù