$600 Million Giveaway to Insurers Worth Three Years of Free Public College for Minnesotans
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate this month passed a $600 million handout to insurance companies with no guarantee that exploding health care rates will come down. The financial cost of this giveaway to insurers is just $50 million less than a bill authored by Senator Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, to make post-secondary education accessible and attainable for all Minnesota high-school graduates.
“This simple comparison between my College Affordability Act and the re-insurance scheme shows how, when our Republican colleagues complain that we do not have the funds to pay something, they mean they need the funds for their big business allies. It shows their priorities are not for everyday families in Minnesota but the large, soon-to-be and current for-profit corporations,” said Sen. Latz.
“The Minnesota College Affordability Act will require significant investment, there’s no doubt about that,” Latz continued. “But it will pay greater dividends for the next generation than a handout to insurance companies. With the College Affordability Act, our students will not be saddled with tuition debt for receiving a higher education degree from a public institution, whether two-year trade school or four-year university. We’re currently seeing dangerous statistics on student loans and we need to act now.”
The Minnesota College Affordability Act would guarantee a tuition-free undergraduate public college and university education at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) for Minnesota high school graduates whose families make less than $125,000 a year. The act makes both two- and four-year higher education programs tuition-free for Minnesota families who qualify. After all existing grants are applied, the state will cover the remaining undergraduate tuition.
Sen. Latz introduced Senate File 156 in January. The bill was referred to the Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee but was not given a hearing.