LETTER: On the higher ed. committee, prioritizing students and families

To the Editor:

 

Earlier this month, the House Majority released its Minnesota Values Budget, which aims to strengthen communities across the state through honest investments to improve education opportunities, support our families and increase economic prosperity. As chair of the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee, I’ve been working with committee members on both sides of the aisle to prioritize students and families.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 775,000 Minnesotans with student debt totaling $27.1 billion. We are seeing the devastating impacts it’s having on college graduates; many are having to hold off on home purchases, starting a family or saving for retirement.

Our higher education budget freezes tuition for Minnesota students at all of the state’s two- and four-year public colleges and universities, and increases financial support for working families by investing an additional $35.4 million in the state grant program. As a result, full-time students who benefit from the state grant program will receive on average more than $400 per year more in financial assistance, and more than 6,000 Minnesotans will become eligible for the first time.

All Minnesotans deserve access to the education and career training they need to get jobs with wages and benefits that will support their families. With student loan debt now the second largest type of debt held in the country, our higher education budget takes steps to help make more college affordable.

 

Rep. Connie Bernardy

District 41A

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