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Fee simple

The Daily is on its game. They call out the admin on the fee vs. tuition subterfuge. To be fair - see end of piece - Mr. Putzenreuter and the BoRe seem to agree with the Daily on this one. Perhaps other parties are responsible for the foot dragging? The folks in Morrill Hall have become masters of this tactic.

From the Daily:

To fee or not to fee: Is it tuition?

The $600 fee is used as tuition but deceitfully billed as a student fee.

On Oct. 6, The Minnesota Daily ran an article about the University of Minnesota's fee structure evaluation. In the article, the $600-per-semester University Fee ($60 per credit for the first 10 credits) was largely glossed over.

University Senior Budget Analyst Peter Zetterberg was quoted as saying that the University Fee is "just a flat form of tuition that all students pay." This fee is not included as tuition when student accounts are billed or when the University tells students what tuition costs and its rate of increase.

It may seem small, but at $600 a semester, it is 11.2 percent of total tuition ($4,560 per semester plus the University Fee). It becomes even more important when you realize that the fee has increased $50 from last year's $550 per semester, an increase of 9 percent.

While administration may give the students a line about how tuition has only increased 3 percent from last year (actually 7.5 percent, temporarily offset by stimulus money), they don't even include the 9 percent jump in the University Fee, which amounts to an additional 1 percent increase in total tuition.

Calling a $1,200 annual charge -- used as tuition -- something other than "tuition" is downright deceitful.

Students are tricked into believing they are paying significantly less for their education, but total undergraduate resident "tuition and fees" have increased 8.5 percent this year, provisionally reduced by stimulus money. The University must be honest with students about what education costs rather than hide tuition hikes.

Stop this newspeak and call the fee tuition. Include the $1,200 per year in tuition and re-establish some simple clarity and transparency in the atmosphere of the University.

My comment on the Daily's website:

Mr. Pfutzenreuter and the Board of Regents Seem to Support rolling fees into tuition.

"Information that has been provided to the Board of Regents for the last three budgets has included total cost of attendance and increments in it, Mr. Pfutzenreuter said. The Board has members who do not like fees; he has made a commitment to the Regents that there will be a recommendation to consolidate fees into tuition."

source: Senate Committee on Finance and Planning, Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Of course this administration does not seem to move very fast...

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