Higher Education

From the beginning of the session the Higher Ed. committee took testimony from students and others about the adverse effects of the rising costs of college tuition.  We made considerable effort to remedy this problem and looked at other ways to keep college costs down, like measures students suggested on how to lower textbook costs.

Once again the Governor indicated what he objected to in the bill, we made adjustments and he vetoed the bill anyway saying it was 'uninspired.' 

The Governor claims that our high schools are obsolete and then insists that what has been the high school curriculum of many years is what everyone needs to do to qualify for his ACHIEVE program.  The Governor is promoting this program as a means to get students to take more rigorous courses in high school. But where is the rigor, and where is the relevance, and what are the results if the requirements are what every high school student should be taking? By the way the Governor has it wrong Bill Gates said, what our schools need for the new 3rs are Rigor, Relevance and Relationship.  

What young people need to stay in school is a reason to believe in their future.  Hope that there is a place for them at the table of life.  Someone to remind them that they are capable, that they are up to the challenge and that they can learn.But they also need a reason to feel that what schools offer is something relevant to them. I wish the governor would study this and then come forward with a plan that would truly help students and not use them to get his pet idea through the legislature.

HIGHER EDUCATION highlights in the bill:
– Tuition:  A halt to years of double-digit increases.  Tuition increases held to about 4% per year.
– Financial Aid: $57 million increase in financial aid through a combination of $2.2 million in new money, formula changes, increased living and miscellaneous expense allowances, lower assigned family responsibility share, and other modifications.
– University of Minnesota: $174 million increase in funding (14%).  Also, $5 million for matching scholarships to reduce tuition.   
– Minnesota State Colleges and Universities: $150 million increase (12%) for MnSCU campuses. Also, $6.7 million in one-time funding for technology enhancements.
– Achieve Scholarship Program:  A new scholarship program is created for students who take and receive at least a grade of C in college preparatory coursework, and whose families have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000.
– Non-resident tuition: Nonresident tuition is eliminated at certain two-year colleges for two years: Century College, St. Paul College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Rochester Community and Technical College, Inver Hills Community College, St. Cloud Technical College, and Normandale Community College.
– Textbook pricing: New initiatives to address the financial burden that textbook prices and requirements place on students.

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