I think we can all agree that providing for an affordable, quality higher education for Minnesota students is a goal we all want for our state. The 2013 Minnesota Legislature froze tuition at both the University of Minnesota campuses and at all Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) campuses, which was a godsend for financially strapped families and students.
Sadly, the Republican-led 2015 Minnesota House — with Woodbury Rep. Kelly Fenton’s participation — scoffed at attempts to continue this freeze, even in the face of a $2 billion state budget surplus. Although Fenton professed caring about college tuition in her Aug. 27 online news column (“As a parent, I also know the strain paying for a quality higher education can put on a family budget”), when it came time to putting money where her mouth was, she failed miserably.
On April 27, 2015, Fenton voted to block consideration of an amendment that would have continued the tuition freeze for another two years (Hortman motion on House File 845, the omnibus higher education bill). This vote effectively ended the tuition freeze at Minnesota public higher education facilities.
The next time parents are writing out growing tuition checks to Minnesota public colleges, think of Kelly Fenton’s vote. She added hundreds of dollars to your college debt over the next two years.