We have an administrator at SCSU who tickles me with her talks in public. She is an old hand of the university and talks like the natives, so I think from time to time the university sort of uses her as a spokeswoman. It's strange yet refreshing, because she is quirky and says things spokespeople usually don't say. So when I read this piece
in the local paper (still has screwy archiving), I have this impression her bosses in the administration probably winced.
Students at St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical College will pay 15 percent more for tuition this fall. The College of St. Benedict and St. John's University will increase tuition by 7 percent.
The increases, which have been a given at the public schools for at least four years, continue to shift the burden for higher education from taxpayers to students. The trend has pushed some students to work more, take fewer classes, take more time to graduate or finish school with more debt.
But rising costs haven't deterred students from going to college.
The technical college, which starts fall semester today, is projecting a 3 percent enrollment increase. About 3,000 students attend the college.
Freshman applications at St. Cloud State were up more than 3 percent at the end of June. St. Ben's and St. John's are expecting 993 new students, which is typical for the schools.
"Traditionally, when they make cuts like that, generally they look at who can generate revenue, and we can," said Diana Burlison, associate vice president for administrative affairs at St. Cloud State.
In fiscal year 1999, 70 percent of St. Cloud State's operating budget came from the state and 30 percent came from tuition, Burlison said. By fiscal year 2005, tuition collected from students contributed to 50 percent of the budget, she said.
The public's view on higher education has changed, Burlison said.
"I think there's a shift from higher education being a public good to it being a private good, that people who use it should pay for it," she said.
Amen, little sister.