UC fee increase spurs reaction

Minnesota should buck national trends and keep tuition low.

The University of California systemâÄôs Board of Regents has recently raised fees (equivalent to tuition) $2,500, or 32 percent, over the next two years. Plenty of other institutions are also spiking tuition well beyond inflation increments, among them Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina. The University of Minnesota has seen its share of tuition increases as well, but in this environment of rising costs for higher education, our University has an opportunity. CaliforniaâÄôs hike is sure to price many students out, as are other increases around the country. UCLA and UC-BerkeleyâÄôs costs of attendance for out-of-state students are now twice as high as MinnesotaâÄôs. If the University keeps tuition low, it can attract students that would attend other out-of-state universities but now canâÄôt afford them. This would improve incoming classes, and additional out-of-state students would pay a greater amount in tuition to the University. Among the many problems with fee hikes at other universities is a loss of diversity in the student body; lagging and insufficient aid coupled with exploding tuition costs exclude lower-income students. It is integral to our UniversityâÄôs mission as a public land-grant institution that we continue to foster diversity in every form and provide opportunity along with equity. Meanwhile, UCLA students have turned out for demonstrations in the thousands, and three other campuses have had students occupy buildings in protest. When University of Minnesota administrators are faced with next yearâÄôs budget shortfalls, they would do well to remember that tuition âÄî and those who pay it âÄî can only be pushed so far as a source of revenue.