by Jeremy Taff

Despite student cries to keep tuition hikes at no more than 2.5 percent, the Board of Regents today will discuss plans for raising the rate 3 percent for next year.
Deliberations about the amount students must pay to attend the University will coincide with discussions of the overall University budget for next year. Administrators handle about a $1.5 billion budget each year.
Of that, 14.7 percent comes from tuition revenue. Student leaders are concerned the student body will be asked to shoulder more of the burden. They insist Regents said tuition increases would remain at 2.5 percent or lower.
“Our commitment had been made to students to keep tuition somewhere within the vicinity of the rate of inflation,” Regent William Peterson said.
Administrators have said they need the extra money to meet operating expenditures such as faculty salaries.
Minnesota Student Association leaders have been handing out pink cards to send to regents requesting that tuition rates remain steady.
“I would certainly be opposed if it was 4 or 5 percent,” Regent David Metzen said. “But I think to balance things and everything else, 3 percent is fine. I can live with three.”
In their two-day monthly meetings, regents will tackle issues ranging from campus appearance to distance learning to a review of General College.
ùPeriodically, the board reviews the campus master plan. With the legislature’s passage of more than $200 million in building funds, regents want to make sure new projects fit closely with the school’s long-term construction blueprints.
While time lines aren’t specifically laid out, the campus master plan serves as a to-do list for administrators.
It includes the demolition of Wesbrook Hall and the Science Classroom Building. It also calls for the eventual reopening of Church Street and Pillsbury Drive to through traffic and the extension of Oak Street into the industrial area just north of the East Bank campus.
Kruse said construction on Murphy and Ford halls, the Mechanical Engineering Building and the Architecture Building must be completed before allowing traffic on Church Street.
One thing is certain for some regents: Construction decisions must be made with the environment in mind.
“I’m very sensitive to green space,” Metzen said. “I don’t want it to look like New York City.”
ùIn an attempt at keeping pace with a college that debuted earlier this year offering degrees over the World Wide Web, administrators will update regents on Minnesota’s own Virtual University.
It will be the latest in a series of reports chronicling how students can take classes over the Internet.
The venture partners the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and private colleges. But the concept worries some education associations that fear it will chip away at the foundations of higher education.
ùTwo years after regents rejected a proposal to permanently shut the doors of General College, the board will check the progress of the remedial education-offering school.
A summary prepared by a review committee for General College will be the cornerstone for discussion.
The committee recommends that the college develop a five-year plan to be more inclusive of the community and to include a “service to the University” factor in its mission.