Regents reject new $100 student feeby Art Hughes, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A University of Minnesota Board of Regents panel shot down a proposal to impose a new $100 student fee to pay for campus construction projects.
The regents' Finance and Operations Committee sent the proposal back to the university administration saying officials should reconsider whether it's the right time to impose a new student fee.
Regent John Frobenius said making students pony up construction money after the University secured hundreds of millions of dollars in state money for building projects sends the wrong message.
"To follow up the year the legislature gave us the largest bonding bill we've probably ever seen in the history of the university, we tack on a capital fee for our students, doesn't make any political sense at all," Frobenius said.
The student fee proposal surfaced during a discussion of the coming university budget, which includes either a 7.5 percent or 9.5 percent tuition increase depending on the outcome of budget talks at the legislature.
Students already pay a $1,000 student, fee plus a $50 a year fee to cover construction of the Gopher stadium. The collection would ramp up, starting with $12 for freshmen starting this fall. All students would pay the full $100 by 2012.
"This semester I paid almost $1,000 in student fees. That's a substantial amount of money and adding on another $100 would be a great increase for us," said Kristi Kremers, a student representative on the regents board.
Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter estimates the fee, when fully imposed, would collect just more than $7 million.
That would allow payment on a $106 million worth of projects. Some projects identified for the money include construction and renovation of student recreation centers and renovation of the St. Paul campus student center.