Allocated funds pass tuition freeze for community and technical colleges

by Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Legislature recently passed a bill that does not allocate funds for the University of Minnesota to extend its current tuition freeze. 
The University requested $148.2 million in state funding for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. However, the Legislature rejected this sum — which was an increase of $65.2 million in state funding — and allocated a total of only $52.2 million. 
Some commenters have expressed disappointment with the decision, as Minnesota’s nearly $2 billion surplus could have helped finance a tuition freeze. Others proposed different ways to finance a freeze for Minnesota residents, including a $6,000 tuition increase for out-of-state students. 
However, the Legislature has also mandated tuition cuts for Minnesota’s two-year colleges, many of which received more funding than they requested. The 1 percent cuts will take effect in 2016, and two-year colleges will enjoy a tuition freeze until then. 
While we are disappointed that University of Minnesota students may not be able to reap the benefits of a continued tuition freeze, we are also excited by the
Legislature’s measures to make the state’s community and technical colleges more affordable.   
Although a 1 percent tuition cut seems like a small figure — the average cost of a two-year college credit will drop from $161 to $159 — the focus on two-year schools is a reassuring sign that the Legislature is working to represent all of Minnesota’s students, not merely those attending a four-year college.