|Approved by the:
|Student Senate December 4, 2014|
The University administration deeply appreciates the Student Senate's resolution recommending a tuition freeze for all Minnesota-resident undergraduate and graduate students. We can assure you that this goal is our Number One priority during this ongoing legislative session. It is the top item on the University's biennial budget request to the Legislature, and that request went forward with the full support of the University's Board of Regents.
Keeping a lid on tuition goes hand-in-hand with efforts to reduce administrative costs, which we've done to the tune of $39 million in savings over the past two years. A freeze of tuition is the right and responsible thing to do, but it must be done in partnership with the Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton.
To all of our elected officials and policy makers, we echo words in your resolution: Higher education may be a private benefit to individual students, but it is indisputably a public good to the state of Minnesota as the University proudly prepares the next generation of leaders to our state and the nation.
Unfortunately, without the full support of both chambers of the Legislature, tuition may need to be raised to meet the modest, but unavoidable, inflationary costs we face. The University administration urges you, members of the Student Senate, to contact your legislators and tell them of the importance of a tuition freeze for you, your families, your classmates, and the state of Minnesota.
Resolution supporting a tuition freeze or fall for all in-state students
WHEREAS, historically the people of the State of Minnesota and the State Legislature have dedicated support to the University of Minnesota to provide widespread, inexpensive higher education, believing that access to affordable education is the great equalizing mechanism of society and that increased investment in higher education leads to increased economic opportunity and prosperity for the State;
WHEREAS, the wisdom of the last generations has proved true and exalted Minnesota to high ranks in educational and economic achievement;
WHEREAS, increased tuition and fees impede the University of Minnesota's ability to provide a high-quality education to all students, especially those from lesser-off socioeconomic situations;
WHEREAS, student debt has risen to its highest level ever, burdening students with such incredible loans that they postpone independent home ownership, investments in new business ideas and inventions, graduate and professional education, savings for retirement, and starting a family--all indicators of future economic prosperity;
WHEREAS, Minnesotans, in particular, face greater student debt than most other US citizens, and "Minnesota ranks fifth in the nation for student debt, and fourth for its proportion of students shouldering college debt loads;" (Randy Furst, Minnesota Ranks High in Student Debt, National Study Shows, Star Tribune, Nov. 13, 2014);
WHEREAS, while higher education is a private benefit to individual students, it is also a public good to the state;
WHEREAS, the current balance between requiring students to "pay their own way" and partially supporting higher education through state funding is currently uneven and places too great a burden on students, thus threatening the future economic good of the State;
WHEREAS, on average, every dollar spent on higher education is paid back four-fold in long-term economic prosperity for the nation, and every dollar spent by the Minnesota State Legislature equates to about thirteen dollars in economic benefit to the State;
WHEREAS, "States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education," and "Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do" (Economic Policy Institute);
WHEREAS, a thriving, educated future requires not only graduates with Bachelor degrees, but also professionals with Master and Doctorate degrees, who will provide most of Minnesota's medical, legal, science, business, engineering, education, and other important services;
WHEREAS, the vast majority of in-state students at the University of Minnesota, at both the undergraduate and graduate/professional levels, stay in Minnesota and contribute back to the economy, but the majority of out-of-state students do not stay;
THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Student Senate, which has the sole responsibility of representing all 52,000+ students at the University of Minnesota's campuses, requests all decision-makers to achieve a freeze or fall in tuition for all in-state undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and a freeze or fall in all fees for all students for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017;
RESOLVED, that the Student Senate implores the Minnesota State Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton to invest in future economic prosperity for the people of Minnesota by providing public funding for a freeze or fall in tuition and fees for all in-state undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017;
RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests the President of the University of Minnesota, along with all deans, provosts, administrators, and other executives, to implement a freeze or fall in tuition for all in-state students, at any level, and a freeze or fall in all fees for all students for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests the President to also realize a freeze or fall in general administrative spending, especially in regards to executive compensation for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests all deans, provosts, directors, and department heads to realize a freeze or fall in college fees, transportation fees, facilities fees, and all other fees assessed on all students or any subset of students for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017;
RESOLVED, that the Student Senate instructs the Twin Cities Student Services Fee Committee, both its Administrative and Student Group Committees, to work together to bring about a student services fee freeze or fall for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.