ST. PAUL – On May 9, the Minnesota House approved a House/Senate compromise plan that will fund Minnesota’s higher education budget for the next two years. Included in this agreement is language that offers “free” college tuition for Minnesota students if their family has an adjusted gross income below $80,000.
State Representative Marj Fogelman (R-Fulda) opposed the measure.
“It’s an insult to all of the families who work hard to save money to pay for their kids’ education, and the students who work hard to get good grades in high school and fill out the endless paperwork to earn scholarships,” Fogelman said.
Specific language in the bill notes that more than $215 million will be spent to provide free college to Minnesota students at a state at a Minnesota public post-secondary institution if their family has an adjusted gross income below $80,000.
Fogelman noted other problematic provisions in the higher education agreement: an 18.5% increase in spending, the deletion of workforce development scholarships which helps students who are studying in high-demand fields, and providing “free” menstrual products to students by having them placed in both girls and boys restrooms. Fogelman noted this “free” menstrual product program will cost taxpayers more than $2 million.
“State government has enough problems adequately funding the programs that are already on the books,” Fogelman said. “It should not be in the business of giving kids a free ride to college or putting free menstrual products in girls and boys bathrooms. Instead of permanent tax relief, this is how the $17.5 billion surplus is being spent.”
Fogelman said these measures will become law as Governor Walz has said he will sign the higher education funding proposal.