There’s been a longstanding bipartisan commitment at the Capitol to invest in the State Grant program and directly support students. But the financial aid needs of today’s low- and middle-income students and families are not being met. The need for new investment is substantial; a recent preliminary analysis released by the Office of Higher Education demonstrated that the program asks students and families to contribute amounts that are unrealistic and unaffordable.
2019 Legislative Request
This session we ask Governor Walz and the Legislature to prioritize investment in the Minnesota State Grant program. We recommend an increase of funding of $92 million to increase the size of students’ State Grant awards and the number of Minnesota students receiving the awards.
The investment would be used to:
- Reduce the student share, the portion of college costs that students are expected to pay. This request would drop it from 50 percent to 46 percent, returning it to where it was from 2001 to 2013.
- Reduce the family share, the portion of college costs that families are expected to pay. This request would drop the family share by five percentage points.
Tens of thousands of college students and their families would benefit from this investment. Here are examples of the impact.
- More students would be helped. An additional 9,900 students would receive awards in the next fiscal year than would otherwise be the case, an increase of 13 percent.
- More students would be able to attend college tuition free or even receive support to cover living expenses. (This would apply to the highest need students at Minnesota State institutions who already attend tuition-free.)
- More middle-class students would be helped. For middle-income students from families with incomes between $50,000 and $90,000, average State Grant awards would increase by $500 or more.
- More students would be able to choose the college that’s right for them — including private nonprofit colleges.
And with this investment, state leaders would be taking important steps to address higher education affordability and attainment gaps. See our January 2019 Financial Aid Policy Brief for more on our state’s future workforce needs and education attainment gaps, including how State Grant investment would increase college success.