A coalition of students and legislators introduced legislation today that will make college affordable again for low-income and middle-class families by providing two years of free tuition at Minnesota’s public colleges or universities. This legislation, authored by Sen. Dziedzic, would make college affordable for students and encourage more people to obtain a degree after high school.
“We need to invest in Minnesotans once again. When students succeed, Minnesota succeeds,” said LeadMN President Frankie Becerra.
This legislation is modeled after promise programs in other states that have dramatically boosted enrollment and completion of college degrees. By next year, three out of four jobs in Minnesota will require a post high school degree. Minnesota is 440,057 postsecondary degrees short of that benchmark, which will send businesses elsewhere because they cannot find the workforce they need to compete.
"We are allowing students to live in poverty throughout their education, telling them a degree is their access point to financial mobility, only to have them graduate into a lifetime of student debt," said State Chair Kayla Shelley of Students United.
"As a student organizer and active voter, I know my voice as a student and future member of the Minnesota workforce has power. I know because young people like me turned out in record-breaking numbers this fall to support candidates that would make college affordability a top priority," said Aurin Chowdhury a student at the University of Minnesota.
A report released by LeadMN, an association representing Minnesota’s community and technical college students, found that not a single community or technical college in the state is affordable. The report blames Minnesota’s confusing “High Tuition, High Aid” model as the root cause of a broken system that prices too many low and middle-income students out of college.
The report outlines how Promise Programs across the country have shown success at increasing the number of college graduates. Minnesota is in danger of being left behind as more states “experience the economic and social benefits of a more highly educated workforce.”
Read the full report here: https://www.leadmn.org/goingbroke
LeadMN represents students attending the state’s two-year technical, community, and comprehensive colleges on 48 campuses, advocating for more than 100,000 students across the state.
Established in 1967, Students United is an independent, non-profit organization funded and operated by students. Students United represents the students attending Minnesota State universities.
The Minnesota Youth Collective is a statewide organization powered by young people dedicated to building a better and more representative state for all Minnesotans.