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Reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin extended for incoming students

The Star Tribune reports:

Minnesota and Wisconsin higher education officials continue to talk about changes in tuition reciprocity, but students who are entering college this fall don't need to worry about a change.

Trying to calm parents and students who were concerned that their tuition could take an unexpected jump, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) issued a statement this week saying that current students and new 2007 freshmen would be able to complete their education under the current terms of the reciprocity agreement.

"Any changes being negotiated now would apply to entering students in fall 2008," OHE director Susan Heegaard said in a prepared statement.

The longstanding agreement allows students from the two states to attend college across state lines, generally paying the same tuition they'd pay at a similar campus back home. Increasing tuition in Minnesota, especially at the University of Minnesota, has thrown those rates out of whack. Wisconsin students who attend U campuses now pay less than Minnesotans do.

U of M officials say that's unfair, and they've asked for changes and threatened to withdraw from the agreement. Higher education officials in both states had said they hoped to reach consensus by the end of February. Governors' offices in both states are now involved in negotiations.