President Obama is speaking today about curbing the cost of college, making it affordable and accessible to all students. Thanks to Minnesota’s DFL leaders, we are ahead of the pack on curbing college costs.
In sharp contrast to massive cuts to higher education under GOP leadership in the legislature in 2011, the DFL-led legislature and Governor passed and signed a tuition freeze in 2013 to help combat the drastic increases in tuition over the last few decades. This tuition freeze is critically important because the growth in the price of a college education has outpaced the price of most other purchases, by up to 70%, while the median household income has decreased.
The cost of textbooks has drastically increased at a similar rate as tuition. At the federal level, Senator Al Franken sponsored The Affordable College Textbook Act to help keep the cost down for students by utilizing open source textbooks.
Senator Franken also introduced legislation to make the true cost of college more easily available to students when deciding where to attend. Franken’s bill would require colleges to create and prominently place a Net Price Calculator that incorporates students’ financial aid on their website to give a realistic estimate of the cost. Currently, costs are often displayed piecemeal and buried in websites, making it difficult for prospective students to know the full cost of attending.
Altogether, progressive leaders worked to lower the cost of tuition, lower the cost of textbooks and make the true cost of college more easily available. All of this makes college more affordable for students and their families, limiting the amount of debt they carry after graduation. Investing in higher education is critical to giving students the education they need to succeed, and for Minnesota to remain globally competitive.