I’m sorry (not sorry). Minnesota’s new progressive surge might actually hurt universities in regressive states. We just passed some significant laws to help Minnesota students.
Minnesota this year passed the North Star Promise scholarship program, which will pay college tuition and fees for in-state residents whose families earn $80,000 a year or less. The program, set to launch in the fall of 2024, is projected to cost $117 million and would help about 15,000 to 20,000 students, according to the state’s office of higher education.
Wow, I wish we’d had that when my kids were going to college — I would have qualified, and it would have been a big help. Better late then never, though, and I’m happy to see a new generation benefit. The state to our West is not happy about it, though.
Minnesota’s ambitious plan to give lower-income residents free college has created a “crisis” in neighboring North Dakota, where higher education officials worry about a drop in enrollment from Minnesota students who can get a better deal at home.
North Dakota college leaders spoke at a meeting this week of the State Board of Higher Education, whose members brainstormed ways to prevent a flood of Minnesota students leaving North Dakota schools.
“This has catastrophic implications. This is a very serious situation for us,” David Cook, president of North Dakota State University, said at the meeting.
But why should North Dakota care about a benefit given to Minnesota residents? I was surprised to learn this:
More than half of North Dakota State University’s incoming class, and 45% of its undergraduate student body, consists of students from Minnesota, according to estimates presented at the meeting. Minnesota natives make up 24% undergraduates at North Dakota State College of Science, and 28% at the University of North Dakota.
NDSU and UND are both right on the state border — you can live in Minnesota and easily commute to either of those schools. There’s nothing wrong with those universities, and I can see how they might panic at the thought of a quarter to half their students suddenly transferring out. We’re all suffering with the effects of the pandemic, I sympathize with any university taking an additional hit.
It’s easily fixed, though. Just pass some progressive legislation in your legislature, Dakotans, and give students free tuition and spend money to improve your schools. Oh, your legislature is packed with Republicans, and your governor is a Trumpian entrepreneur who seems to be distracted by a futile attempt at a presidential run?
I am so sorry! Sincerely. You are so screwed.