Small classes and frequent interaction with faculty contribute to effective undergraduate education at Minnesota’s Private Colleges.
Minnesota's Private Colleges offer students access to faculty and a small group setting in which to learn. Our institutions average a student-faculty ratio of 13 to 1 and 59% of our classes have fewer than 20 students. We maintain these proportions by design. It's a part of our commitment to providing students with the best learning environment possible.
As baby boomers begin to leave Minnesota's workforce in the coming years, we have enough college-educated workers aged 25-44 to fill their vacancies. The concern is the education level of the group that comes next.
Updated March 28, 2012
According to a recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, The Undereducated American, "The United States has been under producing college-going workers since 1980. Supply has failed to keep pace with growing demand, and as a result, income inequality has grown precipitously." From 1915 to 1980, demand for college educated workers was 2.9% per year and the supply was 3.1% per year. Since that time, demand has been 2% per year while the supply has been approximately 1.5% per year.
When it comes to debt, 29% of 2010 graduates from Minnesota's Private Colleges had no debt. Of those who did have debt, the amount was just slightly higher than the debt of graduates from Minnesota's four-year public institutions. Read the story. Important context for counselors: the most recent data available (for 2008) shows that for private college grads who did have debt, two-thirds owed less than $20,000.
Graduates of four-year colleges in Minnesota are increasingly leaving school with loan debt. This debt is not yet leading to higher default rates, but student borrowing merits close attention. Here's some background on this complex issue.
Students use a variety of mechanisms to finance a four-year college education. Depending on eligibility, families pay for college using grants, work-study, family earned income, family savings and student loans. In recent years, state and federal grant aid has remained relatively flat while tuition continues to rise. With grant aid losing its purchasing power, families are using other sources to fill the gap. This has led to a rapid increase in borrowing and cumulative debt of graduates.
The pool of prospective college students is shrinking in many parts of the country, including in Minnesota. It's also becoming more diverse.
If you're wondering how the pool of high school graduates will be changing in the next decade, a new report provides some answers. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that the number of public high school graduates will drop 1% nationally between 2007-08 and 2020-21.
The number of graduates in Minnesota is also projected to decrease 1% during this period — to 59,900 students in 2021. In the shorter term, however, the state will reach its low point in 2013-14, when the number will be 9% lower than in 2007-08.
Appropriations as a percent of our state's gross domestic product have shrunk to levels last seen in the late 1960s. This may be a troubling trend for Minnesota's economic future.
Minnesota built an economy and a quality of life on its investment in education. There is strong evidence and wide consensus that Minnesota's economy will continue to be largely knowledge-based and the state will have to increase the proportion of the population with some form of higher education credential in order to sustain the economic success the state has enjoyed since the mid-1950s. However, in recent years, higher education finance policy has not reflected what one would expect for a state wanting to sustain or increase the education of its populace.