Proposed U of M tuition freezes could stretch state grants


On November 6 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Knutson Campus Center will host a booth at which students can thank their Minnesota legislators for their support of the state grant. If you receive state funding, it might be worth your time – and money – to stop by.

The state grant, which provides several lower and middle-class families with college funds, is based on the University of Minnesota’s tuition – as U. of Minnesota tuition goes up, the amount of total state funds increases.

However, the University of Minnesota proposes a tuition freeze for the next two years. That said, the state grant increases would also seize; the ever-increasing number of students would spread the static level of state funds, meaning fewer dollars allotted per student.

Dr. Mark Krejci, a psychology professor and Legislative Liaison of Concordia, said students should take the time to voice their appreciation for the state grant and encourage additional support for lower and middle-class families for the next legislative session.

“Many legislators support the state grant and have expressed it,” Krejci said.

Krejci said sending a thank you reminds legislators – especially new ones – of the need-based students who attend private colleges and universities. Some legislators don’t have children or come from wealthy backgrounds; they may not have personal interest in the state grant money.

“At first sight, [legislators] might see a freeze in tuition as a good thing,” Krejci said. “If the U. of Minnesota and MnSCU take all the [state funds], that’s not fair for our students, or any private colleges.”

Krejci said he views the state funding as a “three legged stool:” an equal third for the main U., MnSCU, and Private Colleges.

Mark Switajski and Levi Heath certainly plan to send their thanks.

“I wouldn’t be able to come here without the state loans.” Heath said. “Of the amount I’m not paying out of pocket, half is from scholarships and half is from government programs.”

Switajski said a personal touch could go a long way.

“I think it’s important for them to get a personal reaction to the state funds, instead of just seeing us sign student loans,” Switajski said. “For some students, this money is the difference between going to college or not.”

Whether students send thank yous on Nov. 6 or not, Krejci encourages students to contact their local House and Senate representatives and encourage them to increase the state’s support for private college students.

Krejci said the median family income at the U. of Minnesota proved higher than Concordia’s. With multiple scholarship offers and federal funding, he calls Concordia “the cheap date of higher education.”

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