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Proposal Would Hike U Of M Tuition 3.5 to 4 Percent

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has proposed a budget that would raise in-state tuition by $410, give most university employees a 2.5 percent pay raise and provide more money for scholarships and faculty hires.

The $3.5 billion budget plan would increase tuition 3.5 percent for Minnesota residents and 4 percent for out-of-state undergraduates. The rate hike would be the smallest percentage increase in 12 years.

The Board of Regents will hold a public hearing on the plan Friday and vote on it next month.

The plan is similar to what Kaler detailed in his State of the University address in March. It also features a new surcharge for Carlson School of Management students, the first time the university would charge different tuitions based on an undergraduate’s major.

Overall, the increases would bring tuition on the Twin Cities campus to $12,060 per year for in-state undergrads — $21,300 with fees and room and board. For out-of-state students, tuition would rise to $17,310.

In total, tuition hikes would bring in an additional $24.6 million. Some of that money would help fund the university’s Promise Scholarships and increase their maximum award for low- and middle-income Minnesotans from $3,500 per year to $4,000.

The proposal also includes funds to develop a Center for Social Media, hire three new faculty members in the College of Design and pay for upgrades in the College of Pharmacy.

It would also set aside $15.6 million to give most employees a salary bump — faculty and other employees on merit-based pay plans would get raises based on their performance, and other workers would generally get a 2.5 percent raise.

“This follows three years of salary freezes or modest increases and furloughs,” Kaler said during his address in March. “This rewards all of you who have carried us through some very difficult budgets.”

The university had previously considered a 5 percent tuition increase. However, it plans to rely on money that it stashed last fall after the state made a smaller-than-expected cut to its higher-education support.

“It’s been all crunch-cut-cut here,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, the university’s chief financial officer, of the budget proposal. “This is a much, much more positive picture than we’ve seen in years.”

Kaler’s plan asks Carlson students to pay $500 more than other undergrads next year, a surcharge that would increase to $2,000 by 2015.

Lizzy Shay, the undergraduate student body president and a Carlson student, said she was largely satisfied with the plan.

“Although undergraduates are never pleased to see tuition rise,” she wrote in an email to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “I believe this allocation is a testament to the integrity of Dr. Kaler’s promise to students to keep tuition manageable.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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