We can’t think of a good reason for the GOP-controlled state House to send a higher-education bill to conference committee that provides no funding increase for the University of Minnesota and reduces student financial aid via the State Grant Program.
Several bad reasons leap to mind. Parochialism, for one. The House bill provides $105 million more than forecast for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system for 2016-17, and $0 for the U. Might that be because many more GOP legislative districts include one or more of the 54 MnSCU campuses than one of the university’s five campuses? We hope not. Surely legislators know that the state’s only research university is an essential economic engine for the entire state.
Similarly, we don’t like assuming that partisanship is behind the House’s decision. Yes, only two of the U’s five campuses sit in districts represented by Republicans. And only those two — in Crookston and Morris — are beneficiaries of earmarked funds in the House bill. Crookston would get $2.15 million for agricultural education; Morris would get $1.4 million for campus improvements of the sort ordinarily financed via state bonds. But surely no legislator believes that there’s a partisan tilt to the quest for knowledge at the U.
Likewise, it’s hard to fathom that legislators think the State Grant Program is too large, especially at a time when steep student loan debt is hobbling an entire generation’s advancement. [...]
[italics added] (Glen Taylor surely would agree with his editorial board. He's nobody's dunce. Not a Sean Nienow about what's "good business" or "good government.")
The Strib editorial ended with a solid crystal-clear bottom line that should be heeded.
And it’s an ill-timed slap at Minnesota’s educational flagship, the institution that more than any other makes this state a player in today’s knowledge-based economy. Minnesotans know better: 69 percent of respondents to a U-sponsored opinion poll in December said the university is not receiving sufficient funding. The Legislature’s higher-ed conferees need to catch up with public opinion and the public’s priorities.
"Flagship." Biggest and best of the flotilla.
The choice for the U is either once-was, or still-is.
These GOP small town small minded legislators, it turns out they are short-sighted too. Not world class. Penny wise and pound foolish never was world class, and it always will be foolish.
I will have to ask my HD 35A legislator about her solution for student debt "hobbling an entire generation’s advancement."
Some do get TA post-graduate subsidy, welfare from public dollars - it being an investment in honing the capabilities of a generation, i.e., a public good having social merit - and such fortunate souls to have had subsidy-help may hence emerge somewhat less hobbled.
I believe one term for that "hobbled by debt" generation with whom the Strib editors so strongly sympathize, is "millenials."
BOTTOM LINE: Strib's editorial board wants to see student debt relief for "millenials," as well as wanting to see the U kept world class; viewing them as two easily perceived, somewhat related, sound policies.