Kaler recommends 15 percent nonresident, non-reciprocity tuition hike

The 15 percent tuition hike for nonresident, non-reciprocity students will be discussed at the upcoming UMN Board of Regents meeting Thursday.

President Eric Kaler fields questions from the Minnesota Daily in his office in Morrill Hall on Friday, April 28, 2017.

Image by Chris Dang

President Eric Kaler fields questions from the Minnesota Daily in his office in Morrill Hall on Friday, April 28, 2017.

by Eliana Schreiber

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is recommending a tuition hike targeting out-of-state students.

The proposal, which the Board of Regents will discuss at their meeting Thursday, suggests increasing nonresident, non-reciprocity (NRNR) tuition by 15 percent, or adding $3,748 to the existing $24,986 price tag. The proposed total for NRNR students for the 2018-19 school year is $28,734.

The recommendation is the first part of a two-year plan the Regents hope will keep NRNR tuition consistent with resident tuition and “[reflect] a high-quality educational experience for students,” according to meeting materials.

According to the meeting documents, the NRNR tuition rate currently ranks 13th lowest out of 14 in the Big Ten, which Regents argue isn’t representative of the quality of education at the University.

“The board has said that we need to raise nonresident, non-reciprocity tuition to be at more of a midpoint in the Big Ten,” said Regent Thomas Anderson.

Anderson said the University is a “great value” to out-of-state students and is interested in discussing the best ways to address that.

He also added that historically, any increases on NRNR have not affected already-enrolled students.

Fifteen percent sounds high, Regent Steve Sviggum said, but he reiterated that compared to other Big Ten schools’ tuition rates, the University’s is near the bottom.

“There’s some good reason … to get more in line with the Big Ten colleges and universities,” Sviggum said.

The goal of this proposal is to keep a balance of nonresident and resident students, he said.

Regent Darrin Rosha said his position on the tuition increase hasn’t changed since he was on the board in the late ’80s and early ’90s. As the state’s land-grant university, Rosha said it’s important to make sure the school is accepting reasonable numbers of Minnesota residents.

In 2007, tuition for out-of-state undergraduates was $20,803. In 2012, it had dropped to $16,650.

He said he supports moving tuition rates closer to the midpoint of surrounding colleges and universities in the area.

The challenge in raising tuition, Rosha said, will be balancing the sticker price with the perceived quality and value of the University.

“I want tuition to be held down,” Sviggum said. “We have to look at the right mix.”