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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL)

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Minnesota House Expected to Approve New Higher Education Budget

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cornerstone of House DFL proposal is two-year tuition freeze

St. Paul, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives is expected to approve a new higher education budget that would freeze tuition for two years at the state’s public colleges and universities. As a result, tens of thousands of individuals currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State systems will not pay one penny more in tuition.

A fact sheet with more information about the House DFL budget is available for download here.

“All Minnesotans deserve access to the education and job training they need to get jobs with wages and benefits that will support their families,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Too many students face the prospect of taking on significant student loan debt to pursue a college education. College should be more affordable and our tuition freeze would help.”

House Democrats’ budget makes college more affordable, reduces debt, expands opportunities for low income and nontraditional students, and improves health and safety on campus. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 775,000 Minnesotans with student debt totaling $27.1 billion.

“Years of Republican underfunding of our colleges and universities has led to skyrocketing tuition and student loan debt for Minnesotans,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Now, many Minnesotans are delaying important life decisions like buying a house or starting a family because they are so in debt. This is unacceptable and House DFLers will continue to work to fix this problem.”

The 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.

“Our higher education budget contains strong measures to freeze tuition, ease the financial burden, and enhance the quality of education all Minnesotans deserve,” said Representative Connie Bernardy (DFL-New Brighton), Chair of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Division.

To help keep students safe and healthy, House DFLers are prioritizing access to mental health services and legal advocacy support for sexual assault survivors. Additionally, the budget creates hunger-free campuses with the aim to end food insecurity among students.

After the Minnesota House and Senate approve their respective Higher Education budgets, lawmakers from each chamber form a conference committee to reach agreement on a final version.