Higher education bill

Minnesota lawmakers have a historic opportunity to do good for students.

Progress on the companion higher education omnibus legislation, currently being hashed out in a conference committee, is remarkable. As previously stated, we favor the House version of the legislation, primarily because of a $300 tuition increase cap included in that bill. ThatâÄôs a roughly 3 percent tuition increase for each year in the biennium, a victory for University of Minnesota students and Minnesota families, who have been subject to perverse tuition hikes âÄî sometimes upward to 14 percent in a year âÄî since 2001 . Senators in the conference committee fortunately offered to accept the HouseâÄôs tuition cap, and the governor has signaled that he favors the House version of the legislation. Hence, passage of the bill appears certain if the conference committee irons out disagreements in the coming week. And we urge them to do so fairly and expediently in the name of a 3 percent tuition cap. Doing otherwise would be to ignore one of the major economic and societal ills our nation faces: an uneducated public. The cost of an undergraduate degree is being inflated while the quality and return of that degree decreases. To pass on an opportunity to mend that problem would be disregard the very purpose, and presumably, intent of a lawmaker. As University President Bob Bruininks has often correctly argued, investment in the University is investment in the stateâÄôs future. We just hope that state lawmakers seize the opportunity to do good for Minnesota students and families. That opportunity, after all, is right in front of them.