Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
St. Paul, MN--Larry Pogemiller, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE), is on the Iron Range today to discuss Governor Mark Dayton's budget recommendations for higher education with students.
Funding for higher education is a key component of the Governor's budget proposal, including the largest increase in direct aid to students in over 25 years, funding that will make college more affordable for over 100,000 Minnesotans.
"As I talk to students across the state, I repeatedly hear the same message: they believe a postsecondary education is valuable and necessary, but the high cost is a heavy burden," said Pogemiller. "The provisions in the Governor's budget will help lower the cost of college for thousands of Minnesota students, as well as improve quality and learning opportunities."
Dayton is proposing a balanced $240 million investment for postsecondary education, the largest percentage increase for any area of the state budget. His recommended $80 million for the Minnesota State Grant program expands eligibility for over 5,000 additional students, including over 2,000 in the middle-income range. Every state grant recipient will receive an increase in the size of their award.
His budget also helps hold the line on tuition increases, invests in internships and state-of-the art equipment and will help retain high-quality faculty.
Pogemiller is meeting with area education and workforce leaders, touring Iron Range Engineering at Mesabi Community College and visiting Nashwauk High School to learn more about the Applied Learning Institute Program.
On Thursday morning he is participating in a regional student forum, with students from five area colleges participating.
"Over the past decade, tuition and fees have increased by more than three times the rate of inflation and family income, we have the third-highest student debt rate in the country for a bachelor's degree, and an ever-increasing number of jobs are requiring some level of postsecondary completion," said Pogemiller. "The Governor's support for both the public and private benefit of post-secondary education and training is crucial and timely."
Director Pogemiller has been meeting with students across the state since Governor Dayton rolled out his budget in January. Upcoming visits include St. Cloud, Marshall, Rochester and Duluth.
For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, 651-2590-3902, cell phone 651-341-6617 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.