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Voodo Economics

Regents unanimously approve Bruinink's budget request

As OurLeader's favorite philosopher once said: "It's deja vu, all over again..." We are positioning ourselves for another smackdown shortly at the State Legislature. Instead of dealing with increasing tuition in a straightforward way, we have the usual takeaway with one hand (tuition) and give back with the other (financial aid) that is the hallmark of this administration. The hand that giveth is that of Mickey Mouse and the one that taketh away belongs to Andre the Giant. Obviously the university is raising tuition to extract more money from students and claiming that more scholarships will balance out the damage is simply voodoo economics.

One simple question, Bob and Tom: Why do U of M undergraduates bear the highest debt load of any students in the Big Ten? More than Michigan, five grand more than Iowa and Wisconsin, and ten grand more than Illinois.

When are you going to stop evading this question? Do you think that the data of Kiplinger are wrong?

Average Debt at Graduation

Big Ten Public Universities

Illinois $15,413

Ohio State $18,130

Indiana $19,756

Iowa $20,234

Purdue $20,102

Wisconsin $20,282

Michigan State $22,147

Penn State $23,500

Michigan $23,353

Minnesota $24,995

There is an economic crisis right now and OurLeader and the Board of Regent seem oblivious to it. People's savings, retirement funds, and college funds have gone down like Palin's poll numbers. This is not the time to repeat last year's junk yard dog in the manger act. It would be prudent to think about how the U is going to handle a zero-base increase for next year. And it would also be a very good idea to figure out how to do this without increasing tuition significantly or there will blood. A word to the CFO, do not try jawboning the legislature about what the U is legally allowed to do as far as tuition increases go.

From the Daily:

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted unanimously this morning to approve University President Bob Bruininks’s proposed biennial budget request to the State Legislature.

The proposed budget asks for a total budget increase of $141.2 million over two years, the second-lowest increase requested in the last decade. The proposed budget will increase tuition by 4.5 percent per year, or around $400 per student, Bruininks said.

The plan will ask the state for money to fund three main areas: $95.2 million for retaining faculty and staff, $16 million for middle-income scholarship support and $30 million for research infrastructure.
The scholarship program for middle-income students, combined with existing programs for low-income students and additional fundraising will combat the tuition increase for 9,000 University students, Bruininks said.

Members of the board praised the plan for its balance between economic realities and working toward the University’s goals.

The budget’s harshest criticism came from Regent Steven Hunter, who said that he was not entirely happy with the request because he would prefer to send a budget proposal to the state with a 0 percent tuition increase. He did, however, vote for the proposal anyway.

It is good to know that at least one of the Regents was "not entirely happy" with the budget request. Let's hope that a few more Regents like this can be acquired in the off-season.


Sir, I have to imagine both the Legislature and the Citizenry of our Great State of Minnesota are becoming readier by the day to say ENOUGH to the foolhardiness exhibited by the University of Minnesota executives. I should hope the Minnesota Public recognizes - and cares! - that it is being insulted by the Regents' irresponsibility and arrogance.

Perhaps Dr. Bruininks is NOT to blame; perhaps the problem goes higher, to the Regents, to those charged with stewardship for the University.

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