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ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota House of Representatives passed a comprehensive Higher Education omnibus bill yesterday by a vote of 86-44.
The bill freezes tuition at both the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and University system (MnSCU). Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL—Maplewood) praised the bill for taking serious steps to help young Minnesotans saddled with record debt after they graduate from college.
“I proudly voted in support of this bill because quite frankly, Minnesota’s college students have suffered for far too long,” said Rep. Fischer. “It’s going to make a big difference for students attending Century College and other schools across Minnesota.”
Last year, the Legislature enacted record cuts to higher education. Tuition has more than doubled at Minnesota’s public colleges and universities since 2000. The House Higher Ed bill invests $150 million into the system, using most of those resources to freeze in-state resident tuition over the next two years. It also allocates $18 million to the MnDrive research program at the University of Minnesota and nearly $11 million to the Office of Higher Education to increase grants for access, choice, and debt reduction.
The House bill includes new reforms to expand the oversight function of the Legislature. They are designed to better hold the U of M and MnSCU accountable for budgeting practices that have come under fire for high administrative costs and excessive compensation for top administrators.
“Saddling students with record debt after they graduate from college is not only fiscally irresponsible, it’s just plain wrong,” said Rep. Fischer. “We need to give Minnesota’s young people the opportunity to start a stable, secure livelihood when they graduate. This bill takes serious steps to get the job done. We’re going to continue to make this issue a top priority.”