I received a card from a constituent who attends St. Olaf College last week, thanking me for my support for the Minnesota Grant Program. She said the grant program has helped her afford her college education. The Minnesota Grant Program provides need-based financial aid to Minnesota students to help pay for tuition and fees, plus an allowance for living and miscellaneous expenses. Investments in the state grant program is one of the easiest ways to make college more affordable for students. The program helps improve college access and completion in addition to decreasing the need for borrowing and reducing student loan debt.
I’ve always said education is the infrastructure that drives the Minnesota economy and ultimately the quality of life for Minnesotans. But for far too many students, the cost of a higher education and the long-term debt associated with taking out loans not only hurts students, it also hurts our economy by preventing graduates from making durable investments, such as in buying houses and cars, that have historically kept our economy moving and healthy.
That is why I was pleased Gov. Walz proposed a $54 million increase in the grant program for the next biennium in his budget proposal. The increase would provide grant recipients with as much as an additional $300 annual award in grant funding. The Governor’s proposal could also increase living and miscellaneous expense allowances for students.
To be eligible for the state grant program, a student must be a Minnesota resident attending college at any Minnesota institution, whether it be public or private, two-year or four-year. The average household income for recipients typically ranges between approximately $20,000 and $70,000 per year. Currently, the maximum award for 2017-2018 ranges from about $7,463 at a public two-year college to $11,812 at a private four-year college. The average award is approximately $2,401. The minimum award is $100 per year.
For more information on State Grant eligibility and the process of applying for funding, go to the State Grant page on the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your comments and suggestions on this issue and any others that I may be able to help you with. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4120 or by email at email@example.com. You can also mail letters or pay me a visit in the Minnesota Senate Building, Room 2233, right across the street from the Capitol.