After more than a decade of cuts and tuition hikes, the Senate achieved bi-partisan agreement to invest in colleges and universities across the state. Legislation was passed earlier today from the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development committee that will invest an additional $263 million into Minnesota colleges and universities and the State’s student grant program, marking the first investment in higher education after more than a decade of deep cuts.
“This bill is a step toward affordable post-secondary education and helps ensure that our higher education system is building the 21st century workforce that we need to succeed,” said Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL – Minnetonka), Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development committee.
Specifically, the legislation:
Invests $42.6 million to freeze tuition at the University of Minnesota for the next two years.
Appropriates $80 million to fund college student aid and increase the amount of each grant available to all Minnesotans.
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.
“We are making smart investments to increase access to post-secondary education in Minnesota and at the same time doing what we can to ensure that higher education in Minnesota is both effective and affordable,” said Senator Bonoff.
“I am very proud of the work of our committee and all parties involved in this process. It won’t be overnight, but in a short time – 3 months – we’ve made great strides that are going to pay off for our future.”
Senator Bonoff is organizing a Google Hangout to discuss the legislation and the future of Higher Education in Minnesota. If you are interested in participating or know someone that is, please use this form to sign up.