Affordable and accessible college opportunities for Minnesota students


Your child should not have to be rich to get an education that leads to a good career.

On August 22, students across Minnesota will begin a new school year at our Minnesota State College and University (MnSCU) system schools, including right here at Saint Paul College. For them it’s a wonderful time of hope for a better future and an opportunity for improvement that can make our communities stronger and more prosperous. There is nothing that makes us parents prouder than to see our kids further their education. There is nothing more powerful that we can do to keep Minnesota strong than to give our children an opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills.

Unfortunately, recent decisions at the Capitol mean our college students will be paying more for that vital education, and getting a lot less in return.

The legislature could have kept public college tuition more affordable by asking millionaires to pay the same rate of taxes as middle class Minnesota families and by doing so, help balance the state budget. Instead the Republican majority chose to balance the budget by asking our young students to pay higher tuition. Their decision means that it will now cost twice as much to go to college in Minnesota than it did just a decade ago. This year’s 5 percent tuition hike will simply put college out of reach for many of our young people.

We have to do better than that.

The truth is that our colleges are being asked to serve 40,000 more students with the same funding that they got in 1999. These cuts will force schools to slash thousands of course offerings and admit fewer students at a time when we need more educated citizens to build the new economy that we all need.

We want college to be an achievable goal for your children. We need a fair tax system to make that happen. Because we remain committed to our students, we will continue working to pass good tax laws that make a college education affordable for all of us.

Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, represents District 65B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He’s in his eleventh term.

Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, represents District 65A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She’s in her first term.