A key Republican says the state college and university system’s request for a 246-million-dollar funding increase will probably have to be scaled back. Madison Lake Senator Rich Draheim says that number is “quite large from what we’ve been used to” and will be competing with other budget items. “Health care is gonna be a big draw…, you know, the aging population, long-term care, housing,” he says.
State college and university Chancellor Devinder Malhotra acknowledges it’s the largest request in recent memory but says the state must make “serious strategic investments to address “changing needs of the workforce, not only of today, but that of tomorrow.”
Senator Draheim is also less-than-enthusiastic about a proposal that would allow low-income students to attend community or technical colleges in Minnesota and pay *no* out-of-pocket tuition. Draheim instead proposes low-interest loans. “I like that concept better than just saying, hey, it’s free…. I think if they have a little skin in the game,… have it explained to them well that you’re responsible for this debt,… so take it serious. I think it’s the best way to do it,” he says.
The “no out-of-pocket tuition” plan is part of the state college and university system’s budget request to the legislature. Officials propose the state pick up any tuition cost that remains after low-income students receive financial-aid grants — reducing their out-of-pocket cost to zero.
More with Draheim on the tuition plan in this interview: