University of Minnesota raises tuition for next school year

A large university sign
A sign for the University of Minnesota on the West Bank in Minneapolis in September 2023.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

University of Minnesota students will see a higher price tag this fall. 

In a split vote on Thursday, the university’s Board of Regents approved tuition increases as part of a $5 billion budget. It’s the university’s highest tuition increase in more than a decade.

Regent Bo Thao-Urabe was one of three regents who voted against the budget, along with Robyn Gulley and James Farnsworth. 

“This is probably the hardest budget that I‘ve had to look at,” Thao-Urabe said. “My greatest challenge is really about putting the burden on students.” 

In the last several budget cycles, the university has raised in-state tuition by 2 to 3 percent each year. Regents said this year’s bigger hike stems from a lack of results at the state legislature, after lawmakers didn’t fulfill the university’s requests for additional funding. 

In-state students at the Twin Cities campus will see their tuition rate go up 4.5 percent, to $15,148 for the year. That’s before fees and housing costs. The rate for out-of-state students will go up 5.5 percent, for a total annual tuition of $36,296.

Other U of M campuses will raise undergraduate tuition between 1.5 and 4.5 percent. The university is also raising costs for several graduate programs.

Tuition increases will bring the university an estimated $42.2 million in revenue, according to the budget that passed on Thursday.

Regent Mary Davenport voted in favor of the budget.

“No one likes to see tuition increases,” Davenport said. “That conversation, to me, goes hand-in-hand with maintaining quality, and we are a high-quality system. My view is that the tuition increase is a reasonable share in this whole budget proposal.”

The university also added $1.4 million to its financial aid budget to help offset anticipated decreases in state aid.

The board’s student representatives praised that increase in aid.

“In speaking to my fellow students, tuition increases, plus increases in housing and groceries, affect students across the state, and so I know that this will be really impactful,” student representative Niko Vasilopoulos said. 

The budget also calls for $13.7 million in cuts to expenses. The majority of that will come from salaries, as the university leaves vacant positions unfilled and reassigns staff to cut costs. The rest will come from cuts to operating costs, including decreased budgets for travel, professional development, and events.

University officials said the school is in a stable financial position. But regents — including several who voted in favor of the proposal — said they want to look for longer-term solutions to tight budgets, especially as costs increase and enrollment is projected to decline

“That is a mathematical acrobatic act, and can’t continue without financial support coming in from elsewhere,” Regent Kodi Verhalen said. “We cannot continue to cut our way to success.”