U of M President Kaler talks on C-Span about student debt, state support

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler was interviewed at length this morning on C-Span. He talked about student debt, state support and the university curriculum.

He was interviewed aboard a C-Span bus that is at the university today as part of a Big Ten tour to inform students about the network’s public affairs programming.

For those who might have missed the 45-minute interview at 7:15 a.m., there’s a taped version available.

Kaler exhibits his trademark wit early on:

Host Bill Scanlan: The university was founded in 1851. How long have you been president, President Kaler?

Kaler: Well less than that, for sure. I’m starting my fourth year. I’m the 16th president, so people tend to serve in this job for a good long time.

Kaler also talked about the university’s state funding, saying that when he was a graduate student here years ago, the state provided 30 percent of the university’s budget, but this year the number was 16 percent.

And he said a third of students graduate with no debt, and for those who do have debt, the average is about $27,000. “And that’s the price of a nice new car. You need to make that balance of your life decisions, of making an investment in yourself.”And he talked about providing some sort of higher education for those with disadvantaged backgrounds:

“I don’t think there’s anything more critical  for the country’s future than to have an educated population and that means everybody needs a degree of education. Sometimes a four-year college is the right fit, sometimes it may be a professional or a trade school. Everybody needs a post-secondary education in order to thrive in our country. I think the data is clear and we’re committed to that at the University of Minnesota.”

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