MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Students planning on going to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities are going to have to pay more for school.
The university’s board of regents approved a 2.5-percent tuition increase next year for in-state students.
Students from out of state will have to pay 7.5 percent more.
Dozens of students interrupted the Friday morning meeting, and a handful was arrested because they refused to leave.
Protesters said students cannot handle another tuition increase, but university President Eric Kaler feels the school has done its part to protect those who really cannot afford it.
Student protesters demanded the board to cut tuition for next year, saying state lawmakers should figure out a way to pick up the tab.
“We’re not going to be complacent and let them get away with trying to meet during the summer without the voices of students present,” said student organizer Joanna Nunez.
Kaler says the state is keeping the university’s funding flat for next school year, which is part of the reason for the tuition increase.
“We have real cost pressures,” Kaler said. “We have a need to compensate our faculty and staff appropriately. We compete with institutions around the world for our talented faculty and leadership.”
He says the tuition hike will only impact students coming from homes earning more than $120,000 a year.
“It feels to me that in that income level you can afford another $306 to come to the University of Minnesota next year,” Kaler said.
When it comes to other public Big Ten schools, the U of M is charging more than average for in-state students, but still far less than average for those coming from other states.
In-state student tuition has gone up $500 in the last two years. A number of student protesters made it clear that they will not stand for it, and many of them were arrested in the process.
“We, the board of regents, the university, has a right to do their business in an orderly, logical way,” Kaler said.
It is unclear if the students arrested will face charges or a fine. Even with the arrests, the students there said they will be back at other meetings until their demands are met — one of which was for Kaler’s resignation.
Tuition at the four, non-Twin Cities U of M campuses across the state are frozen for next year.