Mild

Jeremy Taff

University President Mark Yudof said Wednesday undergraduate tuition rates likely will climb 3 percent next year.
While calling the prospective increase “modest,” Yudof said faculty salaries and other operating costs are driving the rate boost. Depending on the program, graduate and professional students could see bigger jumps.
Student leaders vowed to fight an increase they say breaks an administrative pledge made in 1996 to hold hikes to an average 2.5 percent.
“We will do whatever it takes to show the administration how important keeping tuition low is to students,” said Jigar Madia, Minnesota Student Association president. “Whether with a rally, a petition drive or a sit-in demonstration.”
Students are already showing their concern over potential tuition increases. The Board of Regents office received packets of Ramen noodles Wednesday signed by about 300 students. The packets read, “This is what we have to eat. Please keep our tuition low.”
That message will be forwarded to members of the board today. “In all, the staff thought it was a very creative way of expressing their opinions,” said Katie DeBoer, policy/project assistant to the Board of Regents.
Madia said by disregarding its promise to keep tuition increases at 2.5 percent, the administration is undermining the University’s goal of accessibility to students.
“The University should stick by the commitment it made to students one year ago,” Madia said. “Period.”
Before the tuition increase is finalized, University officials will meet with the Student Tuition Advisory Board to discuss the changes. Madia expects that meeting to be intense if the administration comes forward with a 3 percent increase proposal.
But although tuition rates are slated to rise, they are still well below the national average of 5 percent and even less than University tuition increases two years ago of 7.5 percent.
The estimated revenue the University stands to bring in from tuition this year is $221 million.
Yudof said that over the next five years tuition increases will probably fall in the 2 percent to 4 percent range, depending on the rate of inflation. “But none of the giant increases of past years,” he added.
Many administrators would not comment on the issue because blueprints have yet to be submitted to the board.
“We haven’t put together the final plan yet,” Yudof said.
John Cahoy, MSA representative to the tuition board and a student representative to the Board of Regents, said he is trying his best to manage the two positions.
“I am currently looking into the reasons as to why the administration wants to raise tuition more,” Cahoy said. “And how the students and administrators can come to an agreement on what’s best.”
Regents most likely will review the tuition increase in May and vote in June.