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Students seek funds

Minnesota college students told a House committee Tuesday that without more state spending the future of higher education is in doubt.

"I'm worried," said Cody Nelson of Crookston, a recent Bemidji State University graduate.

Budget cuts beyond what the state already has made "will likely significantly impact the student experience... (and) will go very deep into academics," he told a higher education committee that will consider budgets for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and University of Minnesota.

"We need to invest now to ensure that Minnesota will be able to continue to educate its citizens" with high quality education, Nelson added.

Jennifer Weil, a Minnesota State University Moorhead senior, said it costs today's students more than in the past.

In 1971, she said, a graduate in a minimum wage job needed to work four hours a week to pay off college debt. Today, the mother of two added, it takes up to 18 hours a week.

Weil said she will graduate with $40,000 in loans to repay.

"This is a sharp contrast to students of previous generations," she said.