Education is the most powerful equalizer, but we treat it like a luxury good. Minnesota is home to some of the most well-respected learning institutions in the world. And, also some of the most expensive. We have four-year colleges that charge upwards of seventy-six thousand dollars a year in a state where the median household income is seventy-seven.
We scramble for scholarships and financial aid and sit at kitchen tables doing the kind of math that would make an accountant’s stomach hurt. It is unsustainable. It is not good for our daughters. It is not good for our sons.
Did you know?
Less than 70% of undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota complete a four-year degree in six years.
In 2021, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities data revealed that less than 70% of graduates completed their degrees within four years. Only 83% completed their degrees within six. I want you to think about that for a moment. Students attending our flagship school, a school with a 5-billion-dollar endowment, regularly take six years to earn a four-year degree.
How does a young man or woman with six years of college debt and an unaffordable housing market survive? They don’t.
For those who strive for four-year degrees, the cost of tuition must come down. We also need to re-focus our efforts on our two-year colleges and trade schools, which are cost-effective gateways to meaningful work and economic security.
Bottom line: Young people should know that we value those who build. We need less debt, and more marketable skills. We need fewer MITs and more MCTCs. We need fewer coders and more carpenters. More plumbers, electricians, solar energy technicians. This is how we ensure we have enough trained hands for the challenges that we face.