The University of Minnesota is a unique case in which to look at finances — it usually involves millions of public, private and donated funds whirling through students, faculty and administration — a population of a big suburb. With as big and complex of a budget as the University has, it is vitally important to consistently reassess where funds are going and how expenses have changed over time.
“If we don’t measure things, we won’t know how we can improve them,” said University President Eric Kaler in a news release. “As we continue to focus on operational excellence at the University, these analyses establish a structure for our work. They also provide transparency and accountability about what we do.”
Kaler has recently been praised for one of the smallest increases in tuition in the past 11 years, at 3.5 percent. Though any increase in tuition will hurt students, especially when interest rates on student loans will compound this amount over time, temporary need-based aid will attempt to offset the increase for thousands of students.
The most profound part of this assessment of the budget is the role Dr. Peter Agre of Johns Hopkins University will play in advising Kaler to strengthen several aspects of the University, without compensation. These actions by the Board of Regents support the University’s mission of creating an environment of responsibility and integrity. Like their government, students rely on the University to keep transparency in its finances so that they are ultimately accountable to the smallest cog in the University machine.
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