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State Budget Deffecit Affects More Than Just BSU

Sara Lee | Staff Writer | 02/02/2011

BSU is one of many Minnesota universities with mass amounts of financial stress due to the state’s $6.2 billion deficit. Not much can be done to prevent the financial crisis because of the current economy, and all 32 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) schools are left to deal with the subsequent monetary shortages.

Last November, Vice President of Mankato State Rick Straka announced to his students that roughly $220 million will be cut from state funding for higher education. Some schools are dealing with the deficit by inflating tuition rates by double digit percentages.

MSU is anticipating a 12 percent increase in tuition by 2013, which would be a $731.00 increase each year, stated The Reporter, Mankato State’s student newspaper.

In addition, fees across the campus will spike. The next two years’ lack of state funding could potentially leave MSU $9.8 million short, said Straka, but as of now they’re expecting about a $4 to $5 million deficit, like BSU.

Also like Bemidji State, MSU had an important sports cut: Men’s Swimming and Diving. About 25 women’s team members threatened to leave the school because of elimination. The same question was raised at Mankato State: why cut entire teams instead of re-rostering across the board?

Christopher Frederick and Jacod Englund, student representatives on MnSCU’s Trustees’ Board, encouraged placing limits on tuition, but the remaining board members didn’t support the idea, opting to raise in tuition rates, stated The Reporter.

On the other hand, students at Moorhead State actually rallied together and demanded an increase in tuition for the fall semester of 2011 in order to help solve budget issues.

Tuition rates are much more drastic for next school year. Had it not been for federal stimulus dollars, tuition rates would have increased 5 percent last school year. Schools will not be receiving this aid this year.

Another MnSCU school, Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU), anticipates a significantly smaller cut in funding, between $1.7 and $3.4 million, stated The Spur, SMSU’s student newspaper. Since the university is one of the smallest MnSCU schools, even the smallest change has big financial consequences.

“A one percent decrease in enrollment is equivalent to losing $132,000,” said SMSU President Danahar. “A little number is a big change for us.”

SMSU has cut professors, library positions, duty days for faculty and administration to meet the budget for Fall 2011, but may benefit some from other schools’ MnSCU cuts.

“Students have already transferred here [SMSU] to finish their degrees. We may actually end up with more on-campus students,” said English professor Dr. Zarzana to The Spur.

Every MnSCU campus is expecting tuition and class sizes to increase and a reduction in faculty, certain courses and majors, and even student population.

As President Hanson stated in the last student forum, “We are not alone.”