The University of Minnesota last week hiked tuition rates for non-resident students by 7.5 percent, which will now affect one out of every five undergraduates as of the Spring 2016 semester.
The number of undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities who are from out of state has grown at a much faster rate than native Minnesotan enrollment over the past ten years, according to data from the UMN’s Office of Institutional Research.
Since Spring 2006, out-of-state students from states Minnesota does not have a reciprocity agreement with grew from 1,370 to 3,058. This is more than a 123 percent increase, and saw their share of the student body increase from five percent to 10.6 percent.
Foreign-born students meanwhile increased at a rate of more than 517 percent over the same period. Only 444 students from foreign countries were enrolled at UMN in Spring 2007, that number was 2,740 this spring. Now nearly 10 percent of the UMN student body comes from foreign countries.
“They have said in the past that lowering tuition for non-residents helped them recruit students,” Representative Bob Barrett (R-32B) said, “I would argue that’s not a very good argument. It should be, ‘We’re the UMN, we’re in a major metropolitan area, we have up to 20 Fortune 500 companies within three to ten miles.”
Barrett serves on the Minnesota House’s Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee and has made lowering in-state tuition a talking point in recent years.
The UMN does not foresee any reversal in the trend towards more out of state students in light of the bump in tuition.
“The University of Minnesota is confident that, given the exceptional academic programs and competitive non-resident tuition, we will continue to attract students both nationally and globally,” UMN Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster wrote in a statement, “Current plans will focus on maintaining our commitment to Minnesota students as well as enhancing our national and international reputation.”
The UMN’s undergraduate population has only picked up an additional 67 students from Spring 2007 to Spring 2016, and as a percent of the student body has shrunk from 71.2 percent to 66.4 percent. Enrollment from reciprocity states has decreased dramatically over the same period, losing more than 2,000 students, losing more than a third of its population. Tuition rates for in-state rate students also increased by 2.5 percent, or about $306.
“[Kaler] improved it, but he didn’t look at the other side which is high resident tuition,” Barrett said, “He needs to lower it. The regents need to approve a reduction in tuition for UMN resident students.”
UMN has the lowest out of state tuition rate in the country, and this 7.5 percent increase will raise tuition for incoming non-resident students by $1,550, to only $22,210. UMN President Eric Kaler had originally proposed a 15 percent increase in tuition for out of state students.
“7.5 is better than two, and it’s not as good as more,” Barrett said, “We can argue about the details, but at least he’s recognized that non-resident tuition is too low. I don’t applaud him for that, but I appreciate the fact that he’s come to that conclusion.”