We all know how tough it can be to deal with the cost of going to college. Not including living expenses and other normal expenses, students have a high tuition cost to pay. Actually, Minnesota has the third highest two-year community and technical college tuition in the nation. Thankfully, for me and my fellow students, Lake Superior College is the second/third (depending on who you ask) cheapest public two-year college in Minnesota. Although Minnesota’s tuition is high, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
A little background info for you…
Minnesota State colleges receive money from the state, which is allocated to 37 different colleges, 30 of which are two-year colleges. Every other year the state budget is created (operating on a two-year cycle), which is when the state legislature decides how much money they will give to Minnesota State (the system of colleges we are a part of formerly known as Mnscu) and the rest of the state’s agendas. Minnesota State then uses an algorithm to allocate this money to each school. There are many pieces of data in this algorithm, some of it is unknown to me and even the schools. Of course, what is allocated to each school affects the school’s budget, which is why students will sometimes see cutbacks in the services offered at the school, but the other part of the school’s budget comes from the tuition students pay. Students used to pay one-third of their college costs and the state would pay the other two-thirds. The amount the state pays has decreased over the years and students are now paying a majority of the costs. It’s understandable to say that someone should be paying for what they are receiving, but getting people a college degree then into the workforce is more than a personal goal, it helps our economy and our state flourish. Plus, with so many jobs requiring a degree, students shouldn’t be drowning in debt to get those jobs. In a way, they are paying to get paid.
Have you heard about the tuition decrease?
Throughout the years, especially in recent years, MSCSA has been advocating on behalf of students about college affordability. The MSCSA employees, cabinet, and student senators travel to both the state and national capitals to do this. The past couple years, a large amount of effort has been put into this by MSCSA. From educating students about the state’s budget to teaching them to advocate and talk with state representatives. So much so that, students may not realize it, but there has been changes to their tuition. In 2013 a two-year tuition freeze was granted to students,which meant that tuition will not rise for two years and students will pay the same tuition costs each year. Another success from the efforts of these MSCSA members (but not only them) is affecting us right now, Fall 2016. Legislatures enforced a tuition decrease of 1% due to the stories they heard from students. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but if you think about the amount of interest that would accrue on that 1% of tuition, it adds up. This decrease (as far back as MSCSA can find) is the first DECREASE in over 30 years for the Minnesota public, two-year colleges, which is a step in the right direction for students.
Think about it: The state created a statute that says they will pay two-thirds, but somehow they seem to have gotten away from actually doing it. The tuition decrease is a step towards getting back to the original commitment from the state.
This can be a lot of information for a student, but well worth knowing, after all, It is YOUR education. Will you walk towards the light or stay in the dark?
Want to learn more? Visit us at MSCSA.org