The Minnesota State university system is increasing tuition for colleges across the state, including its institutions in St. Cloud.
St. Cloud State University increased tuition by nearly 11% from fall 2021 to fall 2022. St. Cloud Technical and Community College has raised tuition by 3.5%.
Tuition at most colleges in the system increased by about the same rate as SCTCC, including Bemidji State University, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Minnesota State University-Mankato and Winona State University.
SCSU business services director, Jeff Wagner, explained to the Times that the stark difference in tuition rate increase has to do with how the university handled online classes. During the pandemic the university charged $50 per online credit but the Minnesota State university system later on required the university to incorporate online classes into their tuition thus causing the tuition price to increase in order to "break even with the revenue line" when they were charging online classes separately.
Bill Maki, vice chancellor for finance and facilities for the Minnesota State system, said via email that colleges and universities in the system have been under financial pressure since before the pandemic and need additional ongoing revenue to remain financially sustainable.
"The $60 million supplemental budget request we submitted to the Legislature included requests for $30 million for campus operational support and $25 million to fund an undergraduate tuition freeze, however the session ended without legislation in several areas including higher education funding," Maki stated in his email. He concluded "The colleges and universities of Minnesota State remain the most effective and affordable resource Minnesotans have for ensuring opportunity and prosperity for themselves, their families and their communities."
"We don't like to have an increase," St. Cloud State President Dr. Robbyn Wacker told the Times. "Just like how people in their homes are facing inflationary costs, we're experiencing the same thing."
Similar to Maki, Wacker stated "We're a great deal," when speaking to the general long-term value of post-secondary education.
Students are concerned about the rising costs.
"As a student that comes from a low-income family, I'm glad that FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) helps me so much because without FASFA or any financial aid, I wouldn't be able to come to college," Cecil Nesgoda, a communication psychology student at SCSU told the Times. They also shared concern with the rising costs. "Compared from the meal plans from last year to this year they have definitely changed in pricing... I wouldn't be surprised if housing has gone up."
"It does seem like it slowly increases every semester," Samantha Corrigan, another St. Cloud State student, told the Times. She also said the price is ultimately worth paying. "You gotta spend money to make money... You either pay it to get somewhere or you don't pay it and you got to struggle to find a job."
This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: St. Cloud State tuition increase outpaces peer institutions