It’s back to school season, and incoming college freshman have a lot to look forward to. Last session Governor Dayton and the legislature made higher education a top priority, with the goal of increasing accessibility to higher education for Minnesota students. This initiative was a huge step forward for Minnesota’s higher education system.
The new budget passed by Governor Dayton and the legislature freezes tuition at all MNScu and University of Minnesota campuses for the next two years. This means the annual ritual of tuition increases at the U will be a no-go this year, and the price will remain at the same rate.
Large investments in Financial Aid
Part of creating more accessibility to college for students is making sure suitable financial aid is offered. This year Governor Dayton invested an additional $46 million in the State Grant program, which will provide more than 100,000 students with needed financial aid.
This year the state will be holding greater accountability for how schools spend taxpayer Dollars. A portion of the funding allocated for the U of M and MnSCU schools will be withheld until the schools meet certain performance standards. This will ensure that Minnesotans are getting the greatest value possible for their taxpayer dollars, and ensures the extra investments are directly helping students in the classroom.
Updating The State Grant System
State financial assistance is not suitable for rising tuition and the other increased costs of post-secondary education. The budget adjusts the State Grant Program to ensure students have the help they need to afford higher education. This will provide financial assistance to an additional 9,000 Minnesota students.
There is even an Average Award of $1,740 Per Student. The new budget adjusts the current State Grant Program formula to better reflect all of the costs of a higher education, between rising tuition and the costs of living associated with going to school. On average, this budget provides each State Grant Program recipient an additional $181 per year. This makes the average total grant through the program $1,740 per student.
Access to college will definitely be easier in these upcoming years. The investment into Minnesota students will pay off with even more college graduates ready to compete in the job market, creating a strong workforce for Minnesota’s economy.