Regents consider free tuition for evacuees

Matt Graham

The Board of Regents’ Educational Planning and Policy Committee on Thursday passed a tuition waiver for at least 45 students displaced by Hurricane Katrina who will be attending the University this year.

The full Board of Regents will vote on the proposal today.

Under the waiver plan, students coming to the University whose colleges were affected by the hurricane and who have already paid tuition at their respective schools would not have to pay tuition to transfer, said Tom Sullivan, vice provost for Academic Affairs. Sullivan presented the waiver idea to the committee.

Students would still be responsible for all fees incurred.

University officials expect students to return to their original colleges as soon as it is feasible.

Research funding issues

University Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy outlined for the committee some of the research funding issues the University will likely run into in the near future.

Mulcahy said the University receives 72 percent of its research funding from the federal government, but that number will decrease as the government cuts back on non-defense research funding.

It will be increasingly important for the University to find private sources of funding and to develop intellectual property from which the University can profit, Mulcahy said.

While the University is ranked fourth in the nation as an “intellectual property pipeline,” Mulcahy said 90 percent of the University’s intellectual property money comes from the HIV drug Carbovir – a money stream which is likely to decrease dramatically over the next several years.

Workplace issues

The Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs Committee learned about a project that involves student learning through student employment.

The project would aim to help students develop life skills both in the classroom and at Twin Cities Student Unions jobs in an attempt to prepare them for life after graduation, said Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs.

The committee also began the two-month process of reviewing the Board’s human resources policies. The regents hope to move the University to a system of compensation based more on merit than tenure in preparation for the anticipated realignment aimed at making the University one of the world’s top three public research universities.