Revenue increase will bring higher tuition

Jessica Burke

Despite the efforts of a few regents, student tuition will bear a 7.5 percent revenue increase next year.
The Board of Regents voted Friday to approve the University’s 1996-97 budget. Included in the budget are tuition increases and new fees.
Not all students will have a 7.5 percent increase in tuition. A revenue increase means the University will raise tuition at a fixed percentage, but students will see greater or lesser increases on their tuition bills depending on their college and year in school.
New fees come primarily in the form of technology access charges for students in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and the colleges of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Liberal Arts and Biological Sciences. The schools of Nursing and Dentistry will institute other fees.
Two board members, Jean Keffeler and Hyon Kim, unsuccessfully presented resolutions that could have changed the outcome of the budget vote.
Keffeler asked the board to postpone a vote on the budget, which will go into effect July 1, until the board’s meetings later that month.
The board needed more time to discuss the tuition increase and faculty salary increases, Keffeler said.
Administrators said deferring a vote on the budget until July would create havoc in University colleges and departments, as their fiscal year would begin before the budget was final.
Regent Wendell R. Anderson supported Keffeler and told the administrators that deferring a vote on the budget didn’t mean it was dead.
“We’re not sending a signal that you can’t move forward,” Anderson said. “There’s no reason to stop moving forward to fall term.”
The board then voted 5-6 against Keffeler’s proposal and voted on the budget.
Throughout the budget discussions, the 7.5 percent tuition revenue increase was a major focus of the regents.
Kim proposed an amendment to the budget that would lower the increase to just 5 percent at the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. She urged other board members to support the amendment. “I’m just begging you,” she said.
The University should share the financial pain, not dump it on the students, Kim said.
“I have a very difficult time with the tuition increase,” Kim added. “Really, 7.5 (percent) is too high for our students.”
The administration responded by showing regents the financial effect of a 5 percent increase. Students taking 12 credits in the upper division of their colleges would have saved roughly $100 per year under that increase.
“One hundred dollars to me, when I was a student, was a lot of money,” Kim said.
But administrators said a 5 percent increase would have left the University with about $2.5 million less than a 7.5 percent increase would, and it would have forced it to cut growth in some programs.
University President Nils Hasselmo said the status of education at the University is a primary concern and that educational standards cannot fall due to a lack of funding from tuition.
“I hate to raise tuition,” Hasselmo said. “There’s nothing I hate more than raising tuition.”
Other board members supported Hasselmo’s position that the good of the University as a whole is too important to jeopardize with reduced tuition revenue.