A blog to keep current on MPIRG'S fight for social and environmental justice.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Education Opportunity Credit Heads to Senate Higher Ed Committee Today

March 14, 2013
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG)
Contact: Josh Winters, Executive Director, MPIRG, josh@mpirg.org, 612-627-4035 x300
              Joey Dobson, Campus Organizer, MPIRG, joey@mpirg.org, 515-239-7404

Education Opportunity Credit Heads to Senate Higher Ed Committee Today

This morning, students from across the state joined legislators at the Capitol in support of an innovative bill that would make higher education more affordable and accessible to all students in Minnesota. The Education Opportunity Credit, what the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) has coined as Opportunity Minnesota (HF 1097 and SF 997), 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. 

Representative Dorholt and Senator Clausen, Chief Authors in their respective bodies, shared their perspective on this common sense legislation that would relieve student debt and remove the cost barrier that prevents many Minnesotans from attending college. 

Student leaders also spoke of the tremendous burden their accruing debt has on the choices they make even now. As MPIRG Board Chair Emma Wright pointed out, student debt “is particularly acute in Minnesota, where we have the dubious distinction of having the 3rd highest debt average in the entire country at a whopping $29,058. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt as the greatest source of indebtedness.” The crowd of students in attendance dressed in red, symbolic of the color of their debt. 

In addition to rallying support, MPIRG unveiled their Opportunity Minnesota Economic Analysis Report. “The total economic benefit to Minnesota from this policy would be $970,998” said Elton Mykerezi, PhD from the Applied Economics Department of the University of Minnesota and who conducted key analysis.

As MPIRG St. Catherine’s University Co-Chair Elora La Valle put it, “we should care about Opportunity Minnesota because it isn't just about the students. It's about the businesses, the communities, the next generation, and the overall quality of living in our beautiful state.” It incentivizes our highly skilled workforce to stay in Minnesota, increasing entrepreneurship, business investment, lifetime earnings, and the tax base.

SF997 will be heard in today’s Senate Higher Education Committee, where more students are set to testify for its passage.


MPIRG is a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonprofit, student-directed organization that empowers and trains students and engages the community to take collective action in the public interest throughout the state of Minnesota.

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