After more than a decade of higher education budget cuts and tuition hikes, the Minnesota Senate passed bipartisan legislation to invest $263 million in colleges and universities across the state, according to State Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), former chair of the Higher Education Committee.
“The past Republican administrations have reduced funding to our colleges and universities by more than 48 percent. These reductions have resulted in tuition increases for the U of 65 percent and 45 percent tuition increases at our state colleges,” Pappas said. “I’m excited to support a higher education bill to finally provide a real boost to higher education funding years.”
The Senate bill will help state colleges and universities achieve better results and graduate more students by freezing tuition, increasing grant funding and reining in the rising cost of higher education. It is designed to help better prepare students for the in-demand careers of tomorrow by investing:
• $12 million to MnSCU to produce more degrees in high-demand fields.
• $19 million to fund MnSCU’s leveraged equipment program and ensure graduates are learning on advanced equipment for tomorrow’s jobs.
• $36 million to the University of Minnesota’s MnDRIVE program for research, innovation, advanced manufacturing, and conserving our environment.
The Senate bill also reduces student debt and slows Minnesota’s skyrocketing tuition by investing:
• $42.6 million to freeze tuition at the University of Minnesota for the next two years.
• $80 million to fund college student aid by increasing the number of grants available and the amount of each grant awarded.
• Holds the University of Minnesota and MnSCU accountable: Utilizes performance funding metrics to ensure that universities and colleges are providing relevant post-secondary degrees in an efficient manner.
• Puts forward proposals to study how mentoring can be used to keep students enrolled, increase graduation rates, and provide financial counseling.
“Minnesota’s higher-education spending, when adjusted for inflation, is lower than any time since 1980. Because of our reduced investments, Minnesota now ranks 32nd among the states, even below many southern states,” Pappas said. “I am proud the DFL is finally making smart investments in higher education, Minnesota students and our future workforce.”