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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Liz Olson (DFL)

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RELEASE: Minnesota House Approves New Higher Education Budget

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a new higher education budget that would freeze tuition for two years at the state’s public colleges and universities. As a result, more than 200,000 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.

“We should be encouraging young Minnesotans to reach for their hopes, dreams and ambitions, but the high cost of college can be discouraging toward this,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth). “Ensuring our state’s outlook remains strong requires investments in the young Minnesotans whose talent will drive our shared success well into the future. The opportunity to receive an affordable, quality higher education is a key component of this.”

“While extremely valuable, the high cost of a degree has both immediate and lasting impacts on students and their families. It’s imperative that we address this,” said Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth), the House Majority Whip. “With a tuition freeze and a boost in funding for the State Grant Program, the House DFL is committed to ensuring affordable higher education can be available to everyone.”

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.

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.

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.

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