Keeping Quality Education Affordable // The costs of receiving a college education have been increasing steadily over the past forty years, with drastic increases occurring in the past decade. The most visible increase has been with tuition at campuses all around the state and nation that are both small and large, public and private. Tuition at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has increased 103% since 2000. This is much higher than the rate of inflation. It is estimated that cost factors prevent 48% of college-qualified high school graduates from attending a four-year institution (1). There has also been a dramatic increase in the price of textbooks as many of the colleges and universities along with their faculty are not sensitive to the financial restraints on students. Textbook prices have increased at four times the rate of inflation since 1994 and students, who lack very little buying power individually, have had to absorb those costs. These drastic tuition and textbook increases have forced students and their parents to borrow money and take on loans at rates that are unheard of. In 2004, the average debt for students graduating from private universities was $22,125 and $17,250 for those graduating from public universities. At graduation, more than two thirds of students have student loan debt.
Solution // MPIRG chapters will collectively advocate for more affordable higher education. By working together, we can effectively exert our influence on our separate campuses as well as on the government of the state of Minnesota
Action // Because this is a problem that affects all of MPIRG’s chapters, we will:
- Conduct a statewide campaign to lower tuition and book costs at both public and private universities
- Fight for more loans and lower interest rates.
- Work at student's individual campuses with their administrations and student governments to change textbook buying policies and university funding programs.
- Create alternate markets for buying and selling textbooks.
- Work together to lobby the state and national governments on higher education issues.
- Work to increase state funding for public universities and to increase funding for Pell Grants and other financial aid to private institutions.
1. Empty Promises: The Myth of College Access in America, Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 2002