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Minnesota State system to update tuition, fee policies

ST. PAUL—The Minnesota State system will consider overhauling its tuition and fee policy in response to the growing number of students taking classes from multiple schools at once.

Chief financial officer Laura King told the board of trustees on Wednesday that the system hasn't substantially updated the policy since it was written in 2000. She said it hasn't kept pace with enrollment trends, which include dual and hybrid models.

"We have now students who are enrolling online and they're enrolling at a college and a university all in the same term," each with its own pricing structure, King said.

Last year, 47.5 percent of Minnesota State students took at least one class online, up from 22 percent a decade earlier. Nearly one-third were simultaneously taking online and classroom courses.

Full-time students pay $168 to $193 per credit at Minnesota State's 30 colleges and $262 to $289 at its seven universities.

King said there's a "lack of coherence" in what dually enrolled students are being charged.

Trustees on Wednesday agreed to let a work group study the policy and make recommendations in the coming months.

The group's charges include making tuition and fees more equitable — charging comparable rates for similar academic programs.

They're also being asked to leave room for colleges to innovate and respond to local needs while balancing student affordability and the system's long-term financial sustainability.

The review comes as the system is looking to get its institutions working more as a cohesive unit by sharing students, faculty and staff, especially among Twin Cities colleges.