On behalf of Minneapolis College, I would like to thank Gov. Tim Walz, Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL, Winona), Sen. Omar Fateh (DFL, Minneapolis), and Higher Education Conference Committee members for their support of higher education in Minnesota this session. This funding for higher education initiatives will have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of students, families, and communities throughout our city and state.
More than 70% of Minneapolis College students are members of Indigenous communities or communities of color, or are international, low income, or first-generation students. Serving these students – helping them achieve academic success – is essential to reducing economic and racial disparities and to meeting Minnesota’s need for diverse talent. With opportunities and resources, these students will go on to become leaders and change-makers in our communities.
Minnesota State Stabilization funding helps us address inflationary challenges and fulfill our mission of providing an affordable pathway to the transformative power of education. Key provisions freeze tuition for the biennium and help us address students’ basic needs with resources and services. The North Star Promise provides eligible students up to 100% for tuition and fees.
To succeed in college, many small pieces must come together. Even students who excel in their coursework can have their education derailed by unexpected life challenges. This new funding will help students overcome these challenges and succeed.
“It’s difficult to understand what it’s like to need support until you’re in the position of need,” said Christian King, a chemistry student at Minneapolis College who has relied on food supports at the college when unable to pay larger than expected bills. “I understand on a very personal level what it’s like to be in crisis.”
Minnesota’s economic vitality depends on skilled workers like Christian. After graduating from Minneapolis College in 2024 he plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree and continue on the path to becoming a veterinarian. This legislation positions Minneapolis College and the other colleges and universities of Minnesota State to respond to the critical needs of students like Christian, promoting equitable student success.
The bonding bill funds the renovation of our Management Education Center, creating a state-of-the-art business school building for Minneapolis College and Metro State University. This space will educate, connect, and inspire Minnesota’s next generation of business leaders, giving them the tools they need to succeed in a changing world.
Everything we do is focused on providing students an opportunity to create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. By recognizing the importance of investing in higher education this session, the legislature has demonstrated its commitment to the future prosperity and well-being of our state. We at Minneapolis College are grateful.
Sharon Pierce is the Minneapolis College president.