Letter: Urge Minnesota legislators to push for funding for higher education
Max Thompson writes, "Disinvestment in higher education continues to impact the future of our state and economic growth, not to mention the lives of students and their families."
As lawmakers returned to St. Paul this January, Gov. Walz and legislative leaders began a conversation on how best to spend the state’s $17 billion surplus. With many worthy investments available, this conversation is very important, and fundamentally represents a debate on how best to prepare Minnesota for the future.
Whether readying the workforce or investing in the next generation of Minnesota’s community-leaders, institutions like Minnesota State University Moorhead are crucial for Minnesota’s future. As a proud student of MSUM, I can say firsthand that our campus is preparing this next generation to make the world a better place and support the economy. Minnesota State institutions like ours provide a quality education while remaining affordable for students of many backgrounds, with great success in outcomes. In fact, of Minnesota graduates in the state’s workforce, 45% in education, 89% of law enforcement, and 63% of nursing professionals come from MSUM or other Minnesota State institutions.
Yet, efforts to continue making institutions like MSUM affordable and meet the basic needs of students are often overlooked. Tuition in Minnesota has grown by 27% over the last 10 years, and the economic realities facing this nation suggest that this trend will only continue. This is a burden shouldered by students and can often be a barrier for us to put our best foot forward into society, to support the people around us that make up this nation.
Today’s students are struggling with skyrocketing costs, food insecurity, and a lack of resources for mental health issues. These issues are impacting our ability meet our state’s workforce needs, serve our fellow citizens, and ensure strong, safe and vibrant communities. We cannot perpetually afford continued tuition increases and further disinvestment of our basic needs.
Disinvestment in higher education continues to impact the future of our state and economic growth, not to mention the lives of students and their families. For these reasons, today I am urging Rep. Keeler and Sen. Kupec to go above-and-beyond Walz’s higher education budget this legislative session, and truly invest in our state’s next generation of leaders and workers.
Max Thompson is the student body president at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.