St. Paul, – In a move to help close opportunity gaps, racial disparities, and address a severe workforce shortage in the state, Minnesota legislators are pushing for a tuition-free college program for most in-state students. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Senate Higher Education Committee passed a bill which would offer grants to Minnesota resident students with a family income under $120,000. The bill, authored by Senator Omar Fateh (D-Minneapolis), would cover tuition and fees at Minnesota public colleges and universities for all Minnesota students with a gross adjusted family income under $120,000 by Fall 2024.
Research estimates by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education indicate that about 60,000 Minnesotans would qualify for the grant program and the total amount granted to students would be $314.8 million per year.
In addition to the tuition-free college bill, legislators are also considering a bill to require high schoolers to take a personal finance class as a graduation requirement. The Senate Education Policy Committee considered two similar versions of the idea Wednesday, with some Senators wanting to clarify if the classes should be taught in-person or online, and who should teach them. Senator Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) and Senator Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie) both presented similar bills to the committee.
Currently, 17 states have similar requirements in place. The Financial Literacy Council of Minnesota encourages lawmakers to pass the bill, citing the importance of personal finance and the need to dedicate time to teaching it in its own course.
The tuition-free college bill will now be referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
0. “Minnesota Senate bill would require high schoolers to take Finance Course” WDAY Radio, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.wdayradionow.com/news/regional-news/61782-minnesota-senate-bill-would-require-high-schoolers-to-take-finance-course
1. “DFL state senators introduce a tuition-free college bill – Albert Lea Tribune” Albert Lea Tribune, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.albertleatribune.com/2023/02/dfl-state-senators-introduce-a-tuition-free-college-bill/
2. “2-year college student finds natural role in advocating for all Minnesotans to attain higher education” INFORUM, 27 Feb. 2023, https://www.inforum.com/news/minnesota/2-year-college-student-finds-natural-role-in-advocating-for-all-minnesotans-to-attain-higher-education
3. “Bill could require personal finance courses in high schools” WAND, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.wandtv.com/news/bill-could-require-personal-finance-courses-in-high-schools/article_4b9a3d14-b448-11ed-aafc-33d882348837.html
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