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SAINT PAUL, MINN. – The University of Minnesota announced today that it will be raising tuition on Minnesota students by 2.5 percent next year. Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park), House Deputy Minority Leader, said the tuition hikes were unnecessary and a result of the misplaced priorities of the House Republican Majority these past two years.
“For the better part of the last decade our state has balanced budget deficits on the backs of Minnesota students and those families now face crushing levels of student debt,” said Hortman. “With budget surpluses these last two years we had a real opportunity to make college more affordable, but unfortunately the House Republican Majority would not prioritize our students. We must change our priorities going forward because Minnesota students who work hard deserve a chance to earn a college degree without being saddled with a mountain of student debt. We must do better by our students and families.”
Despite entering the 2015 session with a $2 billion surplus, House Republicans insisted on a budget that raised tuition on students. And with a $900 million surplus in 2016, House Republicans set a zero dollar budget target for higher education. This in marked contrast to 2013-14, when a House DFL-led majority worked with Governor Dayton to freeze tuition for all students at public colleges and universities despite a budget deficit.
Minnesota currently ranks 5th in the nation in student debt and the average student graduates in Minnesota with $31,579 in debt. And 70% of all Minnesota graduates carry student debt, which is third highest. Rep. Hortman and House DFLers introduced a plan to reduce student debt and make college more affordable at the beginning of the 2016 session, but most of those initiatives were blocked by the House Majority.