Regents discuss international tuition rates

The talks were meant to preface the board’s upcoming rate proposals for the 2017 budget

Olivia Johnson

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is mulling the consequences of raising tuition for international students.

At a board meeting Thursday, the board’s finance committee discussed international student tuition rates with several University administrators.

The talk was held to give regents background information before the board approves tuition and fee rates for international students in its 2017 budget proposal.

“The Board of Regents is looking at a number of issues related to cost,” said Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs Meredith McQuaid. These included what other schools charge, how many international students attend the University and where the students are from.

The board also discussed an international tuition $250 surcharge that was implemented in 2013 before it was raised to $500 for the 2015-2016 school year and collects $1.4 million each year.

“My understanding is that this is a conversation that has only just begun,” McQuaid said. “They’ll probably have it at a broader level with the entire board as well.”

She said the tuition rates are important and many other universities feel they can “pay the bills on the backs of international students.”

The University’s tuition rate and fees for non-resident non-reciprocity is among the lowest in the Big Ten Conference, she said, and many of Thursday’s discussion questions asked to explain this.

“They’re looking to see [if] there’s room there for us to charge more,” McQuaid said. “There’s not a good answer there because these students come from all walks of life. It’s hard to say, ‘oh sure, they could all pay more.’”

Regent Richard Beeson, chair of the finance committee, said regents have only started to focus on NRNR student tuition.

“We have more work to do,” Beeson said. “We don’t have enough data.”

He said he’d like to see whether the board recommends a different tuition structure or an additional surcharge for international students.

Regent Michael Hsu, a member of the finance committee, said the debate came from the general tuition discussion at the University and attempts to understand past enrollment strategies.

A part of the discussion was questioning whether tuition for international students should be the same as rates for NRNR students, he said.

“Everybody’s trying to figure out what the tuition model should be in the future,” Hsu said.