Isabel Le, Graphic Artist
Student Senate President Elena Williams announced a proposed 3 percent tuition hike during a tuition consultation meeting between the Senate Executive Board and Minneapolis College President Shannon Pierce and Vice President of Finance Christopher Rau.
Williams said the April 6 meeting was productive. The proposed 3 percent increase in tuition will primarily cover the cost of living adjustment negotiated by the union representing college faculty. “I’m happy to hear that at least a particular reason was given, but I get a little bit frustrated when people blame unions and negotiated rates for things like this,” Williams said.
The proposed 3 percent tuition increase included an increase in the general tuition rate as well as the aviation and cinema programs. Online class tuition will not see the increase. The proposed increase also includes an increase in technology and student center fees. There may be a decrease in the health services fee.
Williams said that members of the Student Senate Executive Board asked if there was any opportunity to use funds received from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II). Pierce and Rau explained that they do not want to use one-time emergency payments because they do want to pay for expected annual increases with “one-time money,” she said.
Minneapolis College received about $8 million from the HEERF II fund. The school estimates that it has lost about $6 million in revenue because of COVID-19. Williams said that Minneapolis College executives would like to use the remaining $2 million to fund student-led and/or programming-related initiatives. Williams said she would like to get a better understanding as to how the remaining 2 million is to be used.
Williams added that she would like to consult with LeadMN about the procedural process and resources LeadMN may have and alternatives to a raise in tuition.
Student Senate Director of Information Technology Emma Mingo said this is something she is really passionate about. “I really want to avoid any increase,” said Mingo. “They don’t want to use the one-time payments to prevent a tuition increase this upcoming fiscal year because they’re noticing lost revenue, but how much more revenue are they going to lose when people who are paying out of pocket cannot continue to afford attending college because of this increase?”
The executive board will send a consultation letter to the Minnesota Education Systems Office by the end of May. “The consultation letter is a way for us to also have our voice heard as a student body when we submit the letter to the Systems Office,” Williams said, adding that according to Rau, “those letters are taken very seriously and they are also distributed to the board of trustees for the school.” Williams said that she hopes to have the letter completed and sent before the end of May.
If you would like your voice to be heard regarding the proposed tuition hike, leave your thoughts below and City College News will forward them to Student Senate President Elena Williams.
Update: Tuesday, May 4th, Minneapolis College students can attend a Tuition Round Table to discuss the proposed tuition increase.
Anya Savvy is a pen name for a Minneapolis College student who works as a reporter for City College News. To contact Anya, please email them at anya at citycollegenews.com.