In the 1980s, the cost of tuition was based on the state of Minnesota providing one-third of the cost of instruction. Now, it was often a challenge especially in bad economic times, but at least with this, as a rule, people knew what they could expect and then measure that against what actually occurred, and then come back later to adjust the formula.
Today, this concept has flown by and the state barely meets 25% of its obligation, in fact, it not even seen as an obligation.
While the debate rages about holding down the costs of tuition and the rise of student debt we would like to address a significant concern that has arisen and is not even a part of the conversation. The issue we would like to broach is the homogenization of costs for undergraduates at the University of Minnesota. As a land grant college, formed in 1851, seven-years before statehood and later funded by the Morrill Act 1862, and was to provide free tuition to its students. We are a long way from that idea, but also, we would like to get back to the issue of fairness to the undergraduate population.
The cost of tuition at the University is not an honest figure. The largest population at the U, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) subsidizes all other programs. A CLA student does not just pay their own cost of instruction but they subsidize the graduate students in CLA as well. Just like in taxation the greatest burden falls to the Middle Class, or in this case CLA. CLA also subsides the other colleges with higher costs such as engineering, computer science, medicine and all programs with a far greater earning potential than an English major.
There should be a class action suit against this homogenized tuition structure because the student debt for a CLA graduate is far higher than it should have been if they only paid for the cost of their own instruction.