Endowment would promote diversity

Lawmakers proposed a bill that would create an endowment for low-income high school students.

School and state officials have taken on the heavy task of promoting diversity at the University of Minnesota and narrowing the achievement gap. Lawmakers are now pushing for reform as they look for the most effective ways to get a diverse student body to graduate and enter college.  

The Minnesota Daily reported earlier this month that high school graduation rates of minority groups are lower than white students in Minnesota and only about one in every 27 students are black at the University.

But lawmakers recently introduced a bill in the state Legislature that may bolster student diversity and accessibility at the University of Minnesota and other schools. The bill would create a  task force that would form an endowment to help fund college tuition for low-income high school students in Minnesota. The endowment would assist these young people with costs at any college or university in the state.

University President Eric Kaler and the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities would have a spot on the task force and be able to contribute ideas for funding the endowment.

Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, authored the bill, which was referred to the House’s Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee and will likely remain there for the remainder of the session, according to committee Chair and Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona.

The endowment would be an important opportunity for increasing both the ethnic and income diversity at the University and other colleges.

The fact that Kaler would have a voice on the task force is also important. The bill would establish a relationship with the Legislature and the University in mutual and proactive advocacy for all students seeking a college education.