ST. PAUL, Minn. – State Senator Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center) announced passage of the $263 million higher education budget bill. “After more than a decade of higher education budget cuts and tuition hikes, we passed a great higher education bill that freezes tuition at the U of M and provides more grants to Minnesota students,” Eaton said.
“Funding for our colleges and universities has been cut by more than 48 percent under the previous Republican administration,” Eaton said. “These funding cuts have cost families and students so much more because tuition increased 65 percent and 45 percent at state colleges in the last decade.”
In addition, the Senate bill will help Minnesota universities and colleges achieve better results. Specific investments include:
· $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:
· $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.
“After more than a decade of deep budget cuts, the Minnesota Senate is working on solutions to invest in our state and improve the quality of life in Minnesota,” Eaton said. “The higher education finance bill is part of the Senate DFL caucus’ balanced approach of strategic investments, fair revenue increases, cost-saving reforms and budget cuts while erasing the state’s $627 million projected budget deficit.”