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Tuition bump looms at Minnesota colleges

FARGO Students at Minnesota colleges and universities can expect moderate tuition increases this fall, but they may be headed for steep hikes after federal stimulus dollars run out. Under a recommendation from the Minnesota State Colleges and Uni...

FARGO

Students at Minnesota colleges and universities can expect moderate tuition increases this fall, but they may be headed for steep hikes after federal stimulus dollars run out.

Under a recommendation from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system chancellor, the two Moorhead campuses will increase tuition by 4 percent to 5 percent next year.

With federal stimulus dollars, students will get a discount and pay about 2 percent to 3 percent more for tuition.

The surprise for students may come in fall 2010 or 2011 when those stimulus dollars go away.

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Students won't pay the higher tuition right away, but that increase is still added to the base.

That could result in a significant jump for students, said Jennifer Weil, vice chairwoman for the Minnesota State University Student Association.

"It's kind of a compounding effect," said Weil, a graduate student at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The MnSCU Board of Trustees will hold an open hearing Wednesday on the recommended tuition increases at the system office in St. Paul.

The board will vote on the increases in July.

MnSCU officials are concerned about the bump in tuition costs for students after the stimulus dollars go away, said Melinda Voss, spokeswoman for the university system.

But there are still a lot of unknowns, she said. Stimulus money will be used for tuition discounts in 2009-10, but it hasn't been committed for that in 2010-11, Voss said.

"The possibility of a larger tuition increase is there, but it's too early to tell yet what will happen," Voss said.

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Annual tuition and fees at MSUM for a student taking 30 credits is recommended to be $6,186 next year. Students will save $114 from the stimulus discount.

MSUM also is proposing to change how tuition and fees are charged.

The proposed tuition and fee rate at Minnesota State Community and Technical College Moorhead for a student taking 30 credits is $4,844 a year. Students will save $86 with the stimulus discount.

Jerry Migler, provost of the Moorhead campus of MSCTC, said the stimulus discount will appear on students' statements so they are aware their tuition is being subsidized.

"All things considered, we're trying to manage that so when the discount does go away, hopefully it's still going to be manageable," Migler said.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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