MnSCU’s New Chancellor Pledges to Keep Tuition Down

Steven Rosenstone, who took office on August 1, also told the board of trustees that he wants to ensure widespread access to educational opportunities among Minnesotans and seek new ways to partner with businesses and others in order to better meet the state's work force needs.

After almost two months on the job, the new chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU) has pledged to explore new ways of doing business in order to keep tuition down.

Steven Rosenstone, who took office on August 1, on Tuesday told the MnSCU board of trustees that he's prepared to make tough choices in the weeks and months ahead.

“Our role as a driver of Minnesota's economy is more important than ever, and the priorities we set over the next few weeks must help create a globally competitive position for Minnesota-one that will enrich our students, create jobs and contribute to the prosperity of businesses and communities across the state,” he told the board.

Rosenstone called for three broad new approaches-“redesigning processes to focus on outcomes and incentives, empowering faculty and staff to be entrepreneurial, and joining in new ways with businesses and others to better meet the state's work force needs.”

He said that Minnesota is depending on the state's colleges and universities to prepare a skilled work force and continue to provide educational opportunities despite current fiscal challenges.

In July, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated a two-year budget that represented a roughly 10 percent reduction in state funding over the two-year period that ended in June-forcing MnSCU to cut some programs and positions.

“We must think differently and work together differently,” Rosenstone told trustees. “The biggest risk we face is the risk of business as usual.”

Rosenstone said that his newly outlined approaches aim to:

  • Ensure access to an “extraordinary” education for all Minnesotans
  • Be the partner of choice to meet Minnesota's work force and community needs
  • Deliver the highest possible value and most affordable option for higher education to students, employers, communities, and taxpayers

He didn't provide a specific plan for executing his vision, but board Chair Scott Thiss responded to Rosenstone's outline by saying: “We look forward to hearing the chancellor's recommendations about putting this strategic framework in motion. It's an exciting and challenging time.”

MnSCU comprises 31 state universities and community and technical colleges that together serve more than 430,000 students annually. For the 2011-2012 school year, the average tuition among all schools in the MnSCU system was $4,995, representing a 4 percent increase over the previous year.