College News

Minnesota proposal mirrors UW opt-out

Tuition on the Twin Cities campus will increase by two percent for incoming Wisconsinites and in-state residents next year.

Image By: Creative Commons - Ben Franske

While the opt-out proposal is off the table for Wisconsin schools, Minnesota students face a similar proposal for their fees.

Like the Wisconsin proposal in the biennial budget, the Minnesota version was attached to a broader $3.2 million bill for education funding and received negative feedback from students.

State Rep. Drew Christensen, R-Savage, proposed the change—a recent University of Minnesota graduate himself—argues this is a way to curb the rising cost of higher education. However, students say the $18 it saves students wouldn't be worth it compared to the loss of student services, ability to recruit and student power over spending.

According to William Dammann, Government & Legislative Affairs director for the Minnesota Student Association, the money would likely be made up in tuition money, which is controlled by administration, not student leaders.

He said that most of the student lobbying effort has been one-on-one communication with leaders through calls, letters and emails. He added that they have reached out to other University of Minnesota campuses, with smaller populations than the large Twin Cities campus, to bridge the rural-urban divide.

The proposal stipulates that students could still be required to pay fees relating to academics, health and administrative services. Dammann said this language makes the potential impact unclear, as some services like University Recreation could be considered health services and not student activities.

The bill passed through the Minnesota House of Representatives with the proposal included. However, the state Senate passed a version without the additional proposal, and it was sent back to committee to rectify the two versions. Students will testify at a hearing Tuesday afternoon before deliberation begins. 

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