ST. PAUL – College classes are resuming with students enjoying tuition freezes and reductions while education-based tax relief for students and families vetoed by the governor is lamented.
Tuition freezes have been enacted at all four-year MnSCU campuses through the current state budget, and reduced at all two-year campuses. Funding also was increased for the State Grant Program which helps students from low- and middle-income families gain access to a college education.
“I’m both a graduate of the Minnesota State College and University system and I’ve taught cyber-security related college courses within MnSCU for many years,” Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, said. “I know how important it is to keep tuition as low as possible for students and parents.”
Reports show the average student loan debt is more than $30,000 for a four-year degree in Minnesota. Students starting classes this fall can expect an estimated tuition savings in excess of $600, more than $52 million in total tuition costs defrayed across Minnesota.
Seeking to further assist defray the cost of a college education, additional higher education-related tax relief provisions were included in the 2016 omnibus tax-cut bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year only to be subsequently vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
“The tax-cut bill passed the Legislature this year by an overwhelmingly 89 percent and the additional college related tax-cut provisions were among the highlights in the bill,” Lucero said. “Hard-working students and parents all across our community have expressed how disappointed and frustrated they are by Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax-cut bill that would have helped so many people.”
The omnibus tax-cut bill vetoed by Gov. Dayton included $110 million in tax relief for college graduates paying off student loans through a refundable tax credit up to $1,000, the first of its kind in the country, as well as $49 million in tax relief for families who contribute to 529 Plans to save for their children's college costs.