MINNEAPOLIS - In his second State of the U address, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said the University is in the midst of a perfect storm for higher education.
One big piece of encouraging news was the state budget forecast and the lower than expected shortfall. Kaler said that good news comes at a time when the economic crisis the nation faces has a lot of people questioning the value of a college education.
He feels the U is moving in the right direction and wants to continue by driving down administrative costs and investing more in teaching and research.
Kaler said he remains committed to making the U affordable and accessible to students and will fight at the legislature for a tuition freeze. He also emphasized strengthening the U's graduate program.
"We are in demand with more than 40,000 applicants to our Twin Cities campus, a record. Our first year retention rates are excellent...and have now reached 91 percent on the Twin Cities campus," Kaler said.
Kaler said he missed being around students and will begin monthly "office hours" when his schedule allows so he can hear their concerns about higher education.