Posted: April 17, 1996

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

A 4 percent increase in the 1996-97 tuition rate at Minnesota's community colleges, technical colleges and state universities was approved today (Wednesday, April 17) by the Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).

The college and university presidents were given authority to adopt an additional tuition increase of up to 2 percent as a one-time investment in the quality of educational programs and services -- providing that student leaders are consulted first about the amount and purpose of the increase. The board discussed a proposal to allow the additional increase to range from 1 to 5 percent, but decided on the 2 percent limit instead.

Tuition recommendations were presented to the board by Chancellor Judith Eaton and the campus presidents after earlier discussions with faculty and student representatives. The board approved the rates during a regular meeting, held at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount.

"We are very conscious of tuition's impact on access to higher education," Eaton said. "It is important to keep tuition affordable for our students, and we have held this increase to a bare minimum."

She said the base tuition increase of 4 percent is needed to preserve educational programs and services to students and to deal with inflationary increases. State funding isn't adequate to cover these costs, she said. (MnSCU students pay approximately 34 percent of their instructional costs, and the remainder is funded primarily by state appropriations).

"The amount of state funding available to higher education has declined significantly in recent years," Eaton said. "This has happened primarily because of state policy decisions to dedicate more tax dollars to prisons, health care and social services."

Although higher education can make a strong case for a larger public investment, the likelihood in the near future is for reduced -- or, at best, stable -- funding, she said. Faced with limited resources, MnSCU must take bold steps to safeguard access to higher education while meeting state needs, she added.

"The Board of Trustees and I are committed to transforming MnSCU into a performance-based, innovative system that makes full use of new approaches and technology in teaching, learning and administration," Eaton said.

"We want to shift as much funding as possible away from administration and into instruction. And we want to put as much decision-making as possible at the campuses--closest to those who are affected by the decisions."

The option of one-time investment increases of up to 2 percent in tuition will do just that, Eaton said. The additional revenue will permit campuses to determine their own priorities -- whether that means investing in technology, adding additional course sections, or responding to some other need.

Individual colleges and universities will receive the revenue from any tuition increase at their campuses beyond 4 percent. Presidents adopting such an increase will report to the chancellor and board on the use and impact of the additional revenues.

Eaton said providing adequate funding for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities should be viewed as a shared responsibility.

"Students will do their part by absorbing a modest increase in tuition," she said. "The system office and campus administrations must do their parts by re-engineering management practices and becoming more efficient. Faculty and staff will pitch in, too.

"When all of us have accepted this responsibility and demonstrated the results, we will be in a much stronger position to ask the Legislature and governor for increased support."

Under the base tuition rate, community college and technical college students will be asked to pay an additional $1.60 per credit starting in the fall. The cost per credit will be $41.60. Community college students pay an additional General Fee-Student Life Fee of $2.25 per credit. Non-residents of Minnesota pay twice the resident tuition rate.

At the state universities, resident undergraduate students on the quarter system will be asked to pay an additional $1.95 to $2.05 per credit, with the credit cost ranging from $51 to $52.95. At Moorhead State, which uses the semester system, the cost per credit will increase by $2.95, to $76.55 per credit.

Non-resident undergraduates at the state universities will pay $114.95 per credit, an increase of $4.40. Resident graduate students will pay $78.60 per credit, an increase of $3, and non-resident graduate students will pay $124.55 per credit, an increase of $4.80.

The annual cost of attending a Minnesota state university for 1996-97 is approximately $7,000, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, travel and miscellaneous expenses. Average annual cost at a community college or technical college is approximately $2,500 to $3,000 a year, including tuition, fees and books.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities serve more than 151,500 students each quarter or semester at 62 campuses around the state.