Commissioner Olson Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Block Student Loan Forgiveness
Following today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to block President Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness plan, Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson has released the following statement:
“Today’s ruling to stop President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan only serves to underscore the national conversation on the cost of higher education.
For too many students, cost of attendance is the primary barrier preventing them from enrolling in college. In Minnesota, we have taken a stand to address this concern and ensure students have the financial support necessary to break down this barrier.
This session, Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, and the Minnesota Legislature made historic investments in higher education to make college more affordable, and to provide necessary support so students are able to enroll and complete their program. Those investments include:
- The North Star Promise Program covers the cost of tuition and fees for Minnesota families with an Adjusted Gross Income of $80,000 or less. Students must meet all state financial aid eligibility and attend a public higher education institution or tribal college. This investment will break down financial barriers for an estimated 15,000-20,000 Minnesota students.
- The American Indian Scholars Program provides a first dollar tuition and fee-free pathway for any Minnesota resident who is an enrolled member or citizen of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Canadian First Nation to attend a Minnesota State institution or the University of Minnesota. Any non-resident student who is an enrolled member or citizen of a Minnesota Tribal Nation is also eligible for the program. An estimated 2,000 students will benefit from this investment.
- A Minnesota State Grant investment increases the Living and Miscellaneous Expense (LME) from 109% to 115% of the federal poverty guideline. In addition, students will now be eligible for Minnesota State Grants when taking up to 180 credits, which aligns with the federal Pell Grant. An estimated 1,600 additional students (67,000 total) will be eligible for State Grants thanks to this investment.
- The Student Parent Support Initiative will benefit students who are parents or soon-to-be parents by establishing a new competitive grant program. Colleges and universities will use grant funds to implement programs that support the unique needs of parenting students, such as affordable and quality childcare, early education programs, mental health support, and stable housing support.
- Increased investment for the Underrepresented Student Teacher Grant, Student Teachers in Shortage Areas Grant, and the Teacher Shortage Loan Repayment Program to help bolster our state’s educator workforce pipeline.
- A two-year tuition freeze for all Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ campuses will save students around $150-$300 each year and provide them with peace of mind that their cost of attendance will not increase.
These investments, along current financial aid programs administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, help ensure our students do not graduate from their degree program steeped in debt.”
- Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson