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U of M Board of Regents continues talks on student tuition

Updated: October 10, 2019 06:34 PM

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is weighing the pros and cons of raising or lowering tuition costs for certain out-of-state students.

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The Regents ramped up talks about the cost for some of its non-resident students to attend college there.

"What's alarming to me, in terms of enrollment management, is the sense that some of these students in fact might bolt from the university. I hope not and we'll try to prevent that, given these increases," said U of M Vice Provost and Dean, Bob McMaster, during the Board of Regents meeting.

Tuition for non-resident, non-reciprocity or NRNR students has been increasing since 2015.

U of M Board of Regent and Vice Chair Steven Sviggum said during Thursday morning's meeting, "If we've been generous in the past, it's been on the backs of Minnesota students or Minnesota taxpayers' families."

The Regents already approved a 10 percent increase in tuition, or a $2,280 increase, for NRNR students on the Twin Cities campus for the 2019-2020 year, making their base tuition rate $31,616, affecting more than 6,000 current undergraduate students.

U of M administrators estimate the change will generate an additional $6.8 million in revenue.

But, it could come at a cost.

"I do think we are at a vulnerable position now, and then significant increases in our NRNR might make it difficult to attract students to this state, " McMaster said in a one-on-one interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

In the coming months, the Board will decide to bump up or bring down that 10 percent increase for NRNR students.

"There are other non-traditional sources of alternative revenue, keeping in mind that alternative revenue by its very nature is somewhat non-traditional, at least compared to how we've done things in the past," U of M President Joan Gabel said during Thursday's meeting.

U of M student Jared Lim told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "Tuition is a huge factor that comes into play when picking a college."

"It would in the long run probably suck a little bit just because I have to pay it off for longer afterward," added student Ryanna Buganski.

Here's a snapshot of tuition for non-resident, non-reciprocity or NRNR students on the Twin Cities Campus: $20,130 in 2007-2008. Then in 2008-2009 the U of M lowered it by $7,630 to attract more out-of-state students bringing it down to just $12,500. But since 2015 it's been on the rise.

McMaster, in a one-on-one interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS after Thursday's Board of Regents meeting said, "I think there's again a bit more comfort now that the resident students are not subsidizing the non-residents, given the higher rates."

Their goal is to make sure NRNR student enrollment doesn't dramatically drop.

"We really have to re-double our efforts to recruit students to the state. On the flip side, the Twin Cities metropolitan area is a huge plus for us," McMaster said.

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Brandi Powell

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