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MnSCU to raise tuition

MnSCU administrators are preparing to propose to The Minnesota House Higher Education Committee to raise tuition costs for students enrolled in MnSCU schools.

MnSCU plans to present the proposal to the committee the week of March 11.

The budget proposal is focused on maintaining affordability and increasing student success in a number of ways. It will provide funds for internships, giving students hands-on experience that industries and communities want students to have when they graduate.

The tuition increase will also allow for purchases of new and improved equipment and state of the art technology for students.

The budget proposal calls for shared responsibility, not only calling upon the legislature and the governor to act, but others to contribute to the solution as well. The plan intends to increase tuition $145 a year for full-time college students and $205 a year for full-time university students.

MnSCU has 31 institutions, including 24 two-year colleges and seven state universities. MnSCU is the largest single provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota, according to their website.

The colleges and universities operate 54 campuses in 47 Minnesota communities and serve about 250,000 students in credit-based courses, according to MnSCU’s website. The system has about 33,500 graduates each year.

SCSU cut the aviation department a few years back, along with a few other programs due to budget restraints. New admissions to the programs were no longer accepted after these cuts.

“Closing programs is one of the most difficult actions a university can undertake,” President Earl H. Potter III said.

The average cost for tuition and fees for a Minnesota resident student to attend a year at SCSU is $7,714 for the academic period of 2013-2014, according to SCSU’s website. The average cost of tuition for non-Minnesota residents is $15,582 for a year.

This does not include residence and meal plan fees for students living on campus. Nor does this include costs students will have to spend in order to purchase textbooks and supplies for their courses.

Cuts in state support over the past decade have shifted the costs of education from the state to students and their families. Back in 2002, the state covered 2/3 of the cost of a MnSCU education and students paid 1/3. By 2013, these ratios will have nearly reversed, and students and their families have had to make up for what was once clearly understood to be, and was funded as, a critical public good.

Doug Anderson, Director of Communications and Media of MnSCU, in an email, attached a budget profile of SCSU with enrollment statistics of full-time and part-time students. In the profile, it says the total number of students served is 22,024. The percentage of full-time students is 69.4 percent. Part-time students is 30.6 percent.

According to the budget profile, the goal is to reach $946,000 in state funding matched by private funding for 1,260 internships by 2015.

The average cost of tuition for a student enrolled at SCSU has risen significantly over the past decade. As time goes on, the average cost of tuition continues to rise, making debt for graduates greater with each passing year.

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