Why do they raise tuition at the U? Because they can.

Minnesota House higher-ed committee member Ryan Winkler wrote after a House higher education committee meeting Monday;

"Universities raise tuition because they can, according to U of M CFO. It all clicked for me today. Universities sell degrees, American workers must have degrees to obtain economic security (or believe they must), and students are therefore willing take on massive debt (and government is willing to provide financial aid help) in order to get more students degrees. But the system never puts price pressure on universities, and virtually all of them have been raising tuition dramatically--doubling it every 10 years.

This is not just a story of reduced state appropriations for the U of M. Tuition is rising throughout higher education and regardless of whether the college or university gets any public appropriation. We need oversight and a change in direction for higher education. The institutions are essential, but they are not heading in the right direction."

The University Administration frequently attempts to pit staff salaries against student tuition. AFSCME 3800 says no to tuition and fee hikes, no to administrative bloat, and yes to education for all and livable wage front line jobs at the Univeristy of Minnesota.

A story is available here from MPR, and is also reprinted below:

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The University of Minnesotas finance chief told state legislators Monday that colleges have raised tuition in part because … they can.

When a House higher-ed committee member Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) asked Richard Pfutzenreuter why tuition everywhere was so high, the U official had this explanation:

“To be honest, it’s been there because higher ed could increase tuition. It was there to raise. It was money that universities needed, and they raised it.”

At the U, he said, presidents wanted to invest in the university or raise employees’ compensation.

Committee Chairman Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) called it the day’s “most intriguing” statement.

Winkler says he found Pfutzenreuter’s statement “stunningly honest.”

But he said after the hearing that college officials need to think more about the financial burden that such investments have on students:

“Apparently there is no policy-making or governance model at the university — or any university — that says, ‘We should not increase tuition because students shouldn’t have to pay more.’ And I don’t understand why that isn’t part of the equation.”

The U has been under fire since a Wall Street Journal article suggested last month it was too large and had too many administrators.