Today, a two-year degree is a basic requirement of any good paying job. For far too many Minnesotans, this achievement is out of reach because of the high cost. Minnesota State community and technical college students pay the third highest tuition and fees in the country when compared to our counterparts around the nation. 

In 2015, Minnesota took the first step in the right direction. Minnesota Senate Bill 5 created the College Occupational Scholarship Pilot Program. This pilot program, starting in 2016 and lasting through the 2017-18 school year, provides last dollar aid to students in high demand program areas. Since 2015, 14 other states have introduced legislation to support debt-free community college. 

Progress around the country: 

  • Oregon Promise: This state grant covers most of the tuition costs at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates or GED recipients. 
  • Tennessee Promise: This scholarship and mentoring program provides last-dollar funding for recent high school graduates to attend over 40 institutions in Tennessee. 
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures: This leading resource on state legislative action demonstrates some of the progress that states have made.