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Minnesota colleges raise tuition for two-year, four-year schools

By Maura Lerner

Star Tribune

Students at Minnesota State’s two-year colleges will pay $48 more in tuition starting this fall, or $4,815 a year, the first time the price has gone up in five years.

At the same time, the seven Minnesota State universities will increase their average tuition by $272, to $7,288 a year.

The new rates, which officials described as “modest but necessary tuition increases,” were approved unanimously Wednesday by the system’s board of trustees.

The move follows Tuesday’s separate decision by the University of Minnesota to raise in-state tuition to $12,800 on its Twin Cities campus.

Both systems have pointed to disappointing levels of state funding for the need to raise tuition.

At the same time, officials say that increases in federal and state student grants will more than cover the extra cost for many students, especially those from low-income families.

By law, the state’s two-year colleges were limited to a 1 percent tuition increase for the 2017-18 school year. The new rate essentially returns the tuition to 2012 levels, because rates were frozen for the first four years and reduced by 1 percent last year.

No such limit was imposed on Minnesota State’s four-year universities, which will raise their rates by 3.9 percent this fall.

But state lawmakers voted in May to require Minnesota State to freeze rates for all its students in the 2018-2019 school year.

Minda Nelson, president of the state colleges student association, urged the board to reject any tuition increase.

“Forty-eight dollars may seem like a low number to you,” she said. “To us $48 is a week’s worth of groceries … it’s a box of diapers. Even a slight tuition increase will put a substantial strain on our bottom line.”
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