Tuition is going up again at the University of Minnesota.
The Board of Regents has approved a 4.5 percent increase in each of the next two years. It’s a tough row to hoe for students at the U, but the increases are nowhere near as startling as the ones earlier in this decade.
From 2002 to 2004, tuition at the U rose 13.3, 14.7 and 12 percent in each of the years. Last year, tuition rose 7.25 percent.
Very little in American life has risen faster than the cost of a year in college. At a recent forum, Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont said if the price of milk had risen as fast, we’d be paying $15 a gallon. The average cost of a four-year college is just under $50,000. (The College Board counters that nearly half of college students are in schools that charge $3,000 to $6,000 per year).
Some lawmakers are targeting schools with rich endowments. The say schools should dig deeper into their cash to make college more affordable. Harvard, for example, has an $18 billion endowment. The U of M, by contrast, has an endowment valued at about $3 billion. That’s far less, but it was the 6th highest among public universities according to a 2003 survey at the U.