Affordability Protected as Trustees Approve FY2016-17 Tuition, Operating Budgets

Posted: June 17, 2015

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Colleges see continued tuition freeze; 69 percent of students see no increase in tuition

ST. PAUL, Minn., June 17, 2015 – The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities today approved fiscal year 2016 tuition rates and an operating budget that reflects the Board’s priorities of protecting programs in demand, providing the faculty and staff needed to deliver on these programs to ensure student success, and protecting affordability to ensure access for all Minnesotans.

Next academic year and the academic year after, by any measure our colleges and universities will continue to be the highest value, most affordable higher education option in Minnesota,” said Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

At MnSCU colleges, the tuition freeze that has been in place since 2013 will remain in place for the 2015-16 academic year, and tuition will decrease by one percent for the 2016-17 academic year. At MnSCU universities, average annual undergraduate tuition for a full-time student during the 2015-16 academic year will increase by $233 (the first increase in three years) and will remain frozen at that level for the 2016-17 academic year.

The action was enabled by $100 million in state-funded tuition relief for MnSCU colleges and universities included in the Higher Education bill passed during the recent legislative session. Said Rosenstone, “We are very grateful to Governor Dayton and the legislature for their support of the critical role that our colleges and universities play in ensuring prosperity for all Minnesotans, and the funding they provided that makes this possible.”

Despite the modest tuition increase at the state universities, increases to the federal Pell Grant and Minnesota’s state grant program will actually cause student tuition cost to decrease for most students who receive state grants. At the state colleges, all students who receive state grants will see a decrease in student tuition cost. Said Rosenstone, “For full-time students who receive state grants, the average annual student tuition cost is $2,153 at our state universities and only $1,017 at our state colleges. This is an absolutely outstanding value, especially when you consider the tremendous impact higher education has on the earnings potential of our graduates in the workplace.”

In addition to approving tuition, the Board of Trustees also approved an annual operating budget of $1.9 billion for FY2016, an increase of one percent over FY2015. In the budget, the increase in state appropriation was partly offset by a decrease in tuition revenue caused by an anticipated decrease in enrollment. According to Rosenstone, the enrollment decreases being experienced by MnSCU colleges and universities are consistent with statewide and nationwide trends and are largely driven by the economic recovery and decreases in the number of graduating high school seniors. MnSCU colleges and universities are continuing to reduce expenditures and have budgeted $36.0 million in reallocations to areas that most directly address student needs for FY2016 in addition to $43.4 million reallocated in FY2015.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities include 24 two-year community, technical, and comprehensive colleges and seven state universities serving more than 410,000 students. It is the fifth-largest higher education system of its kind in the United States.