University of Minnesota

The Inexorable Tuition Escalation

The Inexorable Tuition Escalation

The cost of attending a college or university keeps rising without an apparent limit year in and year out.

To give a sense of the relentless rise, since the early 1980’s tuition has increased over 1000% while the consumer price index (CPI) has risen a relative paltry 240%.  From a slightly different perspective, in 1970 the percentage of the average household income it took to pay for tuition in a four-year college was 16%; by 2010 it was 36%.  As a consequence of the rising costs, students are taking on debt as never before.

True Values in Public Education

Consumers Digest in 2011 published its list of Top 100 college values; it included real values.

Number one on the list is Truman State University (TSU) (Kirksville, MO), followed by the University of Minnesota-Morris (UMM) (Morris, MN).  Both have out-of-state costs comparable to Cal State’s in-state costs, yet they offer substantially higher graduation rates, smaller class sizes, and a load of major selections that are not impacted. To this duo of public values add FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) which is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. FIT in Manhattan is one of the top five fashion design schools in the world (it includes Calvin Klein among its alumni), and has a COA under $30,000. This is a serious value.

The Liberal Arts Alternatives- Public Liberal Arts Colleges

The most discriminating purchasers of college services, college professors, are keen on sending their kids to liberal arts colleges. Why? Liberal arts schools are usually small, smaller than many high schools. Most are composed solely of undergraduates, meaning accessibility to professors is unmatched: professors know this.  

Consequently, liberal arts colleges encourage and deliver many undergraduate research opportunities, even compared to major ‘research universities.’ Moreover, at the liberal arts colleges, professors teach introductory courses, with many interacting frequently with their students—and have countless informal meetings, which according the late Steve Jobs, are the most fruitful and memorable.

Regardless of all this professor access, many believe that attending a liberal arts college- to learn, read, write, analyze, communicate and think clearly will land students squarely in the unemployment line. Not according to Paul D’Arnieri , dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at University of Florida, “…liberal arts major can go into education, public policy, law, intelligence, as well as business--let’s not forget that many, many business leaders have liberal arts degrees.” (Fox Business 27 January 2012) Okay, but won’t the costs of these colleges saddle students with tens of thousands of dollars of debt? Certainly the sticker price of Swarthmore, Amherst, Pomona College, or Williams is over $50,000 a year, but there are alternatives.

Beyond the brand name private liberal arts schools there are a number of public liberal arts colleges. Many are a part of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) which consists of 27 public colleges spread among 24 states and a Canadian province. A full list can be found at Four of these public liberal arts colleges are included in Fiske’s Best Buys of 2013, which is based on “the quality of their academic offerings in relation to the cost of attendance.” (Fiske Guide, 2013)  These include the College of Charleston (SC), Evergreen State (WA), Truman State, (MO), and University of Mary Washington (VA). Two other public liberal arts colleges for those wanting to be closer to home include Sonoma State University, with a cost of attendance (COA) of just over $23,000 and Southern Oregon University (which is part of the Western University Exchange program, WUE), with a COA of $25,000.

Yet another public liberal arts college, University of Minnesota, Morris, which for some odd reason did not make the Fiske list, is truly an exceptional value. The college is located in the middle-western portion of Minnesota, fairly close to the North Dakota border. The 125-year-old campus has a 42-acre historic district set in the middle of its 130-acre campus. Equally interesting is the campus is well on its way to becoming carbon neutral, as it obtains over half its power from a municipal level wind turbine (another liberal arts school in Minnesota, Carleton, just installed its second wind turbine generator—a popular energy alternative in the land of 10,000 lakes).

Academically all students begin with a first-year seminar featuring a five-course core under the name of ‘Skills for the Liberal Arts.” Eight courses are then required spread among history, fine arts, social science, natural sciences, and ‘international perspectives.’ Over two-thirds of the classes have 19 or fewer students, and all are taught by professors. Students find the academics competitive but highly collaborative.

The best news is that Morris does not charge non-residential fees. The annual tuition, room and board for a non-resident is under $20,000. For the right type of student, Morris represents a superb undergraduate value, as do many of the public liberal arts schools.

Only 3% of students coming out of high school go on to liberal arts colleges. In all likelihood of the students who even learn that liberal arts schools exist, most dismiss this alternative as too pricey, unprofessional, and small. That’s a shame because there are a lot of choices and opportunities for those bold enough to stray off the well-worn UC or CSU admissions path. Liberate your search and survey the great public liberal arts school opportunities.  

The Allure of Out of State College Opportunities

Less than 14% of high school students attend college out of state. Cost considerations, proximity to friends and family, and climate deter many from going too far afield, but having an adventurous spirit might pay dividends in the world of colleges. Outside the golden state an assortment of public schools, private research universities, and liberal arts colleges seek to enroll Californians. These schools behoove your investigation.  

Profile of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


  • A good value in the face of California’s rapidly rising tuition costs
  • Over 150 majors across its 7 colleges
  • Two campuses spread along the Mississippi River
  • Undergraduate experience with Honors Program, Research Opportunities, and Study Abroad Program

If you’re willing to sacrifice the Mediterranean climate of California for the seasonally snowy plains of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) might warrant a review. The Twin Cities campus is, with 33,000 undergraduates, greater than Berkeley, UCLA, or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. For out of state students, its cost of attendance (COA) is less than the in-state price of Berkeley or UCLA.  As part of the Big Ten, and with its seven colleges offering over 150 majors, ranging from Russian to Kinesiology, the University of Minnesota might be worth weathering the winter storms.  

The campus is actually two campuses with one in St Paul, where the agricultural school resides, and the other in Minneapolis, about five miles away. The two are connected by bus, but soon will be by light rail. The Minneapolis campus is split, east and west by the Mississippi River. The university also contains a 695-acre arboretum, which is used for research projects. Each of the freshman admitting colleges has its own library, with the entire library system containing over 5 million volumes, making it the 14th largest in the nation.

One concern many parents might have about any big state university is its four-year graduation rate.  46% of this year’s undergraduates finished their bachelors in four years. Though better than Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s 26%, it is well below UCLA’s 68% and Berkeley’s 69%. To address this issue, the university has instituted a ‘Four Year Guaranteed Graduation Plan.’ Should you join the plan, accept guidance from your counselors (all undergraduates are assigned both an academic and career counselor who will meet and advise you throughout your career at  Minnesota), pull together a plan for achieving your degree in four years, and fail to get the classes necessary to graduate on time, the University of Minnesota will provide these classes to you at no cost, until you attain your degree.

The University of Minnesota is sensitive to the needs of its undergraduates and has implemented a number of programs, in addition to the guarantee mentioned above. First, week long orientation programs are offered by all the colleges to their entering freshmen. Additionally, an Honors College offers opportunities in interdisciplinary study, along with special research opportunities, and special housing for members in the program.  Further, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) gives stipends to 450 students each year to assist faculty or propose student research projects under faculty supervision.

The professors are noted for being accessible and focused on teaching undergraduates.  Most have open office hours where they are willing to meet and explain concepts or elucidate points. Distinguished teaching is rewarded by bonuses of up to $15,000. Moreover, you might actually get to know some of your professors as 80% of the classes have fewer than 50 students, and even the larger lectures break down into manageable discussion groups of 15 or fewer students.

One other area worthy of mention is the Study Abroad program, which features over 300 programs across 60 countries: it is the largest program in the nation. The College of Management requires all its students spend time abroad in one of the programs which can be for as little as a month, or as long as a year.  

All told, the University of Minnesota has features that might attract discriminating students who are searching for alternatives to the UC system. Certainly the cost of attendance is appealing. The school has the advantages of a big school: an extensive range of majors, huge libraries, and an extensive Study Abroad Program, coupled with features of a smaller school with its colleges, first year orientation, honors program, attentive counseling, and undergraduate research opportunities. If you’re interested, the application fee for California residents is waived for this year, and there is no essay on the application. Applying is a no-risk venture. The University of Minnesota has rolling admissions with a deadline of December 15th.  But, be prepared to buy a parka.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 소개

  • 캘리포니아의 등록금 상승에 비할 때 좋은 대안
  • 7 단과대학에 150이 넘는 전공
  • Mississippi 강을 따라 두 개의 캠퍼스로 나누어짐
  • Honor Program, Research Opportunities, Study Abroad Program이 우수함

여러분이 캘리포니아의 지중해 날씨를 버리고 눈나리는 미네소타의 평지를 갈 수 있다면, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities)는 고려할 만 하다.  Twin Cities 캠퍼스는 33,000명의 재학생이 있으며, Berkeley, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo보다 더 큰 학교이다.  Big Ten에 속하며, 전공은 러시아어 에서부터 신체운동학까지 150이 넘는 전공을 7개의 단과대학에서 제공하는데, 이 대학은 겨울의 눈보라에 시달리더라도 갈 만하다.

캠퍼스는 농과대학이 있는 St. Paul과 5마일 떨어진 Minneapolis의 두 군데에 있다.  두 곳은 버스로 연결되어 있으나, 곧 경철도가 운영될 것이다.  Minneapolis 캠퍼스는 미시시피강 동서로 나누어져 있다.  대학은 695에이커의 식물원이 있어서 리서치 프로젝트에 사용된다.  모든 신입생은 전국에서 14위인 500만권이 넘는 도서관을 즐긴다.

학부모들이 염려할 졸업률을 살펴보자.  올해 학부의 4년졸업률은 46%이었다.  Cal Poly San Luis는 26%이고, UCLA는 68%, Berkeley는 69%로 높다.  한편, 이 대학의 ‘대학 4년에 졸업하기’(에 가입하면, 카운셀링을 받을 수 있다 (모든 학생은 academic and career카운셀러가 지정되어 지도함).  4년에 졸업하도록 최대한 도움을 주며, F학점을 받으면 비용없이 수업을 들을 수 있다.

University of Minnesota은 프로그램에 매우 민감하다.  첫째, 모든 신입생들에게 1주일간의 오리엔테이션을 제공한다.  또한 Honor College 프로그램은 학문간 연구를 제공하며, 특별 기숙사도 제공한다.  Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program(UROP)은 매년 450명의 학생들에게 교수 조교나 리서치 프로젝트를 주고 비용을 지불한다.

교수들은 항시 면담이 가능하며 학부생을 가르치는데 주력한다.  대부분의 교수는 시간을 오픈하고 학생을 면담하고 수업의 질문이나 개념을 설명해준다.  우수한 교수는 $15,000의 보너스도 받는다.  더욱이 학생들은 교수와 친분을 가질 수 있다.  80%의 수업이 50명 이하이다.  대규모 수업은 15명 정도로 토의 그룹으로 나뉘어 진다.

또 다른 우수성은 Study Abroad 프로그램이다.  60개국의 300여 프로그램이 있다.  전국에서 가장 큰 프로그램이다.  College of Management에서는 모든 학생이 한달, 혹은 일년 동안 한 프로그램에 가입하여 외국으로 나가게 한다.

University of Minnesota는 UC에 대응하는 대학을 찾는 학생에게는 매력적인 여러 가지를 갖고 있다.  물론 비용도 매력적이다.  이 학교는 큰 학교의 장점을 갖고 있다: 수많은 전공, 큰 도서관, 폭넓은 해외유학 프로그램, 각 단과대학이 작은 대학의 특징을 지님, 첫 오리엔테이션 프로그램, honor program, 밀착된 카운셀링, 리서치 기회 등.  만약 여러분이 흥미가 있다면, 올해는 가주 주민에게는 응시비용이 면제되며, 또한 에세이도 없다.  정말 위험하지 않은 도전이다.  12월15일이 마감일이다.  그러나 파가를 꼭 준비해야 한다.