The University of Minnesota saw some nasty tuition increases this past decade, and a lot questionable financial decision-making under former UM President Bruininks. Ideally, both of these difficulties will ease up under new university President Eric Kaler.
If Kaler’s FY13 budget proposal passes today, undergraduate tuition will go up 3.5% at UM campuses; grad students are looking at a potential 4% increase. From a student’s perspective, no tuition hike is a good one, obviously, but 3.5% is one of the smallest increases in tuition in the past decade. Some years have seen increases as high as 16%. Also part of the budget is an increase in need-based financial aid programs by $2.3 million, and $2.8 million toward the budget for merit-based aid.
For many, the University of Minnesota under former President Robert Bruininks’ aegis became an allegory for financial mismanagement and overpaid university administrators and nepotism. Bruininks himself earned $747,995 in 2011, which was his final year in office, distinguishing him as 8th on the list of most highly paid public university presidents in the country.
Bruininks routed $355,000 into the Center for Integrative Leadership between 2009 and 2011. Upon retirement, he accepted a faculty post at the Center for which he is now compensated $341,000 per-year. He also authorized questionably large paid leaves to other administrators. Among the largest was a $535,700 severance check signed by Bruininks for University of Duluth Chancellor Kathryn Martin.
Kaler urges Minnesotans to judge UM for “what it does going forward.”