Support Opportunity Minnesota

by Russell Barnes, MPIRG member

College has grown from a basic commodity to an essential need in today’s economy. As a result, the number of students attending college has logically increased. However, what has disproportionately increased alongside this is the amount of debt college students have upon graduation. This is hitting Minnesota students hard, and it needs to be changed via Opportunity Minnesota.

The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group is working to pass Opportunity Minnesota, a unique legislative bill that would reduce the financial stresses of college. The bill would reimburse students for their loan debt payments if they stay and work in Minnesota. These tax credits would encourage people to stay in Minnesota and relieve their debt. This would leave young, educated Minnesotans with more money to contribute to consumer spending, which only works in Minnesota’s favor.

At the University of Minnesota alone, tuition has increased 174 percent since 2000. The dollar, on the other hand, has only increased 33.4 percent in the same time period. Minnesota is now fourth in the nation for student loan debt — the average student now graduates with $30,000 in debt.

As a college student myself, I have seen students drop out due to these financial pressures. However, not all students have a fair shot of attending college, and money is the problem. It is essential that Opportunity Minnesota is passed in order to provide all an equal opportunity of bettering their lives with a college education.