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University of Minnesota regents approve tuition hikes after protesters arrested

The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents passed a budget Friday that seeks to offset tuition hikes with additional scholarship money. President Eric Kaler said about half of the system's undergraduates, 20,000 students, will see no tuition ...

The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents passed a budget Friday that seeks to offset tuition hikes with additional scholarship money.

President Eric Kaler said about half of the system's undergraduates, 20,000 students, will see no tuition increase, including 4,000 who will pay less.

"I do not want to be in the business of increasing tuition," Kaler said, noting resident tuition has risen less than 1 percent per year since he was hired.

On the Twin Cities campus, nonresident, nonreciprocity students will see the biggest sticker-price increase, 7.5 percent, as regents gradually step away from their sale-price strategy from 2008. Waivers will limit the increase to 5.5 percent for those already on campus.

Resident students at the flagship campus will pay 2.5 percent more for tuition, but additional scholarships will fully offset that hike for families making less than $120,000. The four outstate campuses, which have struggled with recruitment, will hold tuition flat for Minnesota residents.

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Regent Michael Hsu made a last-minute bid to reduce tuition for Minnesota residents, but just two of his 11 peers joined him.

The budget ultimately passed on a 10-2 vote, even as regents expressed concerns that the U spends too much on administration and that increases to room and board (3.6 percent on the Twin Cities campus) were unwarranted.

For 20 minutes near the start of the meeting, several students interrupted to protest tuition increases and campus climate problems. At least six were arrested, cited and released.

Regent Abdul Omari acknowledged the protest, saying he was pleased that regents did not pass a more aggressive tuition increase for nonresidents. A month ago, they were considering a 9.9 percent increase for those students, and some regents wanted to go even higher.

"This is real for people and they see these increases," Omari said.

AT A GLANCE 

  • University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) 2016-17 tuition: $12,546 resident (up $306) and $22,210 nonresident (up $1,550). 
  • A new tier will be added to the Promise Scholarship, awarding $306 a year to Minnesota students from families earning $100,000 to $120,000.
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