University of Minnesota president proposes 2.5% tuition hike

It's Eric Kaler's final budget proposal as president.
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University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is proposing a 2.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition fees for Twin Cities students starting in fall 2020.

In what is his final budget proposal before stepping down from his position, Kaler is recommending a $4.1 billion budget for the 2020 financial year, which is 3 percent more than last year.

The tuition fee hike is beneath the 3 percent cap requested by Minnesota's lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session, but more than the 2 percent Kaler had suggested this past winter.

Those studying on the U of M's campuses outside of the metro area, in Duluth, Crookston, Morris and Rochester, would see their tuition fees go up by 1.5 percent.

It comes after the U of M had requested a $87 million increase in its base funding from the legislature, but only received $43.5 million.

Kaler said that the university's largest expenses are teaching, primary research activities and academic support.

His budget will allow the U of M to offer salary increases of 2.25 percent.

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"This budget reflects the most critical priorities for the University, which include delivering affordable, high quality education, increasing efficiency in operations and achieving excellence in all three areas of our mission: instruction, research and outreach," he said.

"Throughout the budgeting process, we remained focused on those top priorities and are recommending strategic investments that allow the University to continue preparing the leaders of tomorrow, giving back to the state, and being careful stewards of our limited resources."

Tuition costs and fees for in-state undergraduates at the Twin Cities campus are at $15,104 for the 2019-20 year, while students from out-of-state are charged $33,330.

The Star Tribune notes that only 17 percent of the U of M's funding comes from the state, compared to almost 40 percent in the '80s.

The next U of M president, Joan T. Gabel, will assume her position on July 1.

The public is being invited to comment on the budget proposal here.

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