College Affordability In Minnesota
Since 1999 higher education's share of the state budget has declined significantly, and students have paid the price for that decline. Minnesota community and technical colleges have the 7th highest two-year college tuition and fees in the nation. At our current tuition levels, we are pricing low- and middle-income students out of higher education and the training they need for a career in our modern economy. After having flat tuition from 2014 to 2019, tuition has increased by an average of $234 for a student taking 12 credits at our community and technical colleges, in just the past 2 years. While financial aid is accessible, the complicated process to obtain this aid is a high barrier to many low-income students.
Student Debt In Minnesota
Minnesota's high tuition rates have led to Minnesota college graduates accruing over $26 billion in student loan debt from the federal government, holding back over 775,000 Minnesotans from achieving economic prosperity. This is debt that prevents them from purchasing homes, starting families, opening small businesses, and from fully participating in their local economies.
State Investment In Community and Technical Colleges
Historically Minnesota invested at or above the national average in higher education funding per FTE. In 2003 however, the state dipped below the national average and has remained far below since. At our community and technical colleges, Minnesota invests over $1700 less per FTE compared to the national average. This large gap is having a detrimental effect on the affordability of college and the success of our students.
Investing In College Affordability
With the state of Minnesota expecting a historic surplus of over $7.7 billion in 2022, now is the time to reinvest in higher education, especially our community and technical colleges. An investment of $125 million to lower tuition at community and technical colleges would decrease tuition over $900, or roughly 17%. This investment would bring tuition to levels not seen since 2005 and put us closer to the national average for state investment in two-year colleges. A tuition cut like this has never been done in a community and technical college system and could have an outsized impact on enrollment and our future workforce. Recent research suggests that for every $1,000 decrease in tuition, colleges will see a 3.5% increase in enrollment. It is time for bold solutions to address college affordability and help ensure that Minnesota can train the workforce of tomorrow.
Investing $125 million to lower tuition at Minnesota community and technical colleges.