Approved by the: Student Senate March 5, 2009
Administration - no action required*
Board of Regents - no action required
* Passage of this legislation was unsuccessful at the legislature. The University's commitment to student scholarships remains a significant priority and we will continue our current efforts, and find additional ways, to make college more affordable and reduce the amount of debt students have upon graduation

Reaffirmed on
behalf of the
Student Senate by the:
Student Senate Consultative Committee, March 14, 2013

RESOLUTION ON OPPORTUNITY MINNESOTA

Whereas, it is important for University of Minnesota students at all campuses to come together and work collectively on legislation that benefits all students; and

Whereas, the Minnesota State University Student Association and the Minnesota State College Student Association are already supporting this legislation; and

Whereas, two-thirds of Minnesota students graduate with debt, and that debt averages $21,000 ; and

Whereas, by offering a tax credit for college loan repayments, "Opportunity Minnesota" allows college graduates to contribute more to the state's economy earlier in their post-college lives; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the University of Minnesota Student Senate endorses the "Opportunity Minnesota" legislation.

FOR INFORMATION:

What is the problem?
Increasing tuition costs, combined with a struggling economy, have left more and more students with a rising amount of debt when they graduate from college. As of 2006, over two-thirds of seniors graduating from Minnesota's public universities have student loan debt, with that debt averaging $21,000. Our state's economic growth is slowing and unemployment rates are rising, creating fewer jobs that have the ability to revitalize our economy.

What is the solution?
Decreasing student debt relieves an unnecessary burden on Minnesota's youth and their families. By finding a comprehensive solution that can lower debt for graduating college seniors, jumpstart our state's economy, and help insulate Minnesota's economy from national recessions in the future, we can take great steps towards turning recent trends around.

What is Opportunity Minnesota?
Opportunity Minnesota is an innovative piece of legislation based off of a bill that passed Maine's legislature overwhelmingly in 2007. It relieves student loan debts for Minnesota residents that have graduated from a Minnesota higher education institution and continue to work in the state following graduation. This is designed to remove a large barrier that prevents many Minnesotans from attending college and also retains a strong work force for the state.

How can we pay for it?
Starting the program will require some upfront costs that can be paid for through a variety of methods: the state's higher education budget, alternative revenue sources, the nonprofit community, and others. After just a few years after the implementation of Opportunity Minnesota, the economic benefits of the program will outweigh the costs to operate it. At this point, the state could choose to start paying for the program or examine alternative funding sources that could continue the program.


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