Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
St. Paul, MN--St. Paul, MN Larry Pogemiller, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, and Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, are in Morris today, April 16, to discuss Governor Mark Dayton's budget recommendations for education with postsecondary students.
Pogemiller and Cassellius are meeting with students from both the University of Minnesota Morris and the Morris Area High School. Comprehensive funding for both E-12 and postsecondary education is a key component of the Governor's budget plan, including the largest increase in direct aid to postsecondary students in over 25 years.
"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.
"Over the past decade, tuition and fees have increased by more than three times the rate of inflation and family income and we have the third-highest student debt rate in the country for a bachelor's degree," said Pogemiller. "This is a trend that must be addressed."
The Governor's budget also proposes $344 million for E-12 education. This comprehensive investment provides essential funds to expand access to early education, address funding gaps for special education and increase E-12 funding by an average of $72 per student the first year and an average of $339 increase per student the following year.
"The Governor's budget proposal provides critical investments that will place our youth on a path to success from birth to career," Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said. "It supports efforts that are proven to work while addressing inequities in education and increasing opportunities for every student."
Both Pogemiller and Cassellius have been holding student forums across the state to share the details of the Governor's education proposal and listen to feedback from students, educators and community members. Upcoming meetings include Rochester, Brainerd, Bemidji and Albert Lea.
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. Contact Keith Hovis at the Minnesota Department of Education by phone at 651-582-8275 or by email at email@example.com.