Kaler stands by tuition hike, but offers ‘alternative’ to regents

If approved, the alternative plan would raise tuition by 2 percent, down from the 2.5 percent increase initially proposed.

President Eric Kaler speaks during a meeting of the University Senate on Thursday, May 2 at Mondale Hall. The group discussed policy, budgeting and administrative matters. 

Chris McNamara

President Eric Kaler speaks during a meeting of the University Senate on Thursday, May 2 at Mondale Hall. The group discussed policy, budgeting and administrative matters. 

Dylan Anderson

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler offered regents a plan that lowers the increase of tuition to 2 percent, down half a percent from his initial plan, according to a memo sent to regents.

If approved, this will cost undergraduates on the Twin Cities campus $72 less per year than the prior budget proposal and the University will have $1.6 million less dollars in revenue, the memo read. The total budget of the University is around $4 billion.

In the memo, Kaler maintains that a 2.5 percent increase is “reasonable and justifiable,” standing by his initial recommendations but offers the board a different option. 

“In response to the Board discussion and request for an option to balance the budget with a lower tuition rate, I offer an alternative,” Kaler said in the memo.

To address lost revenue from the lesser increase, Kaler proposes reducing investments in four areas totaling $700,000, as well as transferring $900,000 from central reserves.

After transfers and allocations, the University’s central reserves is projected to have about $56 million, according to budget documents, more than double what is required by a regents policy. 

The College of Liberal Arts would receive $200,000 less of a funding increase resulting in two less faculty positions in the department of Economics, Statistics and Psychology.

In addition, the College of Science and Engineering would receive $200,000 less meant to address increased facility costs at Tate Hall, which will likely have to be reallocated within CSE’s own budget. 

Other cuts include $200,000 meant to increase support for graduate assistants in the College of Biological Sciences and eliminating a $100,000 funding increase for the Center for Bioethics within the Medical School.