At a time when Minnesota has a historic surplus and there is $650 million allocated for new spending in higher education, the House and Senate are spending only about $30 million to increase funding for the need-based college financial aid provided through Minnesota State Grant program. A larger investment is necessary to provide much needed increases in financial aid for college students at all Minnesota colleges and universities.
In addition, some Senators are pushing for a new financial aid program that will exclude students at nonprofit colleges while providing tuition-free college for some students at public institutions. Financial aid for college students should be available to students with financial need at all colleges – private and public. That’s why there should be greater investments in the State Grant program rather than the creation of a new program that excludes students at nonprofit private colleges.
Two in five college students from Minnesota depend on State Grants to help keep college affordable. However, the size of these grants has not kept up with student need. Policymakers can best help college students by putting more money into the Minnesota State Grant program.
While the investment so far is inadequate, it isn’t too late for a change. You can help.
Ask the House and Senate conference committee members and legislative leaders to prioritize need-based aid for college students provided through the State Grant program and to oppose new programs that exclude private college students with financial need. A sample note you can edit and a simple tool for sending them are available when you click the link below or https://secure.everyaction.com/veoWrENmKkuj262tCz8tog2.
Increasing the size of State Grants helps low- and middle-income college students across Minnesota, whether they attend private nonprofit colleges or public institutions, whether they’re earning associate degrees, certificates, or bachelor’s degrees.
Lower-income students were already less likely to go to college after high school. And since the pandemic, that’s only gotten worse. Investing in larger State Grant awards can make all the difference for these students.
We can do better — and investing in larger State Grant awards will make a tremendous difference.
Act now! Ask the higher education conference committee and legislative leaders to increase need-based aid for college students. Legislators can make education options after high school possible and more affordable for more than 60,000 Minnesotans.