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July 25, 2005

Reciprocity agreement needs to change

The article I choose is from the July 25, 2005 issue of the Startribune.

This article is about Minnesota's reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin. The agreement was made so students could choose to go to schools in neighboring states without paying out of state tuition. Under the current agreement Minnesota students going to school in Wisconsin pay the tuition rate of a comparable school in Minnesota, and vise versa. Because tuition rates are lower in Wisconsin, Minnesota students going to Wisconsin schools pay higher tuition than Wisconsin students. However, Wisconsin students going to Minnesota schools pay lower tuition than Minnisota residents. At the U of MN Morris campus Wisconsin residents pay $2400 per year less than Minnesota residents.

The states do have a way to even things out. At the end of the year they use a formula that takes into account the number of students and cost of tuition and determine which state owes the other money. In the 2003-04 school year Wisconsin payed Minnesota more than $6 million. However, that money does not go to the schools, it goes to the Minnesota general fund. So, schools in Minnesota are getting less in tuition from Wisconsin students, and then the state is getting the extra money. I'd be willing to bet that that money does not go back into education.

There are several problems here. The first is that the agreement needs to be renegotiated, which is in progress. The second is that Minnesota tuition rates are rising faster than in Wisconsin, making the problem worse. The state needs increase spending on schools, which should help keep tuition down. More importantly the schools need to examine their budgets and focus their money on education. Funding needs to be directed in a way that keeps tuition rates down, while improving the quality of education. Universities have a tendancy to spend money where it is not needed. One example is the renovation of buildings. While I agree that there are many buildings on our campus that need renovation, the University tends to go overboard on these projects.

Posted by at July 25, 2005 3:16 PM

Comments

I sure am glad they are renegotiating the deal. Why can't the money come back to the colleges, rather than be put in a general fund. Now that would make the deal better. Of course, there are the students that have to pay more than the others, which is also not fair. Wisconsin residents going to school in Minnesota should have to pay the same tuition as Minnesota residents attending MN colleges.

Posted by: Debbie at July 25, 2005 4:46 PM

I agree with Debbi. Minnesota residents who attend Wisconsin schools should be able to pay the in state tuition for the Wisconsin schools and those attending Minnesota should pay our in state tuition for our schools. It is very unfair, but like it was said in class it is not the students fault, it is the governments fault in these two states. I hope they make the right decisions when they are done negotiating this deal.

Posted by: Dianna at July 26, 2005 8:23 AM