As Chair of the Education Finance Division, I spend much of my time at the Legislature working on early and K-12 education, and I am happy to have this role. It is a truly wonderful position to be in. But education isn’t just for children, and learning doesn’t end when a person graduates high school. For many people it continues into higher education.
This fall, thousands of students across Minnesota began their post-secondary journey, and thousands more returned to college campuses across the state. It is an exciting time for students and their parents. But students attending college is more than just exciting, it is imperative for our economy. By 2018 it is estimated that 70% of jobs in Minnesota are going to need some form of post-secondary education. We need highly-skilled workers to keep creating jobs and to have a stable economy.
To help ensure everybody has access to a quality education, the Legislature infused more than $700 million into our education system. We increased early education and K-12 funding by nearly $500 million. We froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State University School System and increased state aid, totaling a $250 million investment.
Additionally we changed the formula to award more state aid to part-time college students, enabling more students with different backgrounds and needs to attend college.
It is important we provide opportunities for everyone who wants to pursue higher education, but I know that universities are not for everybody. Community colleges, trade schools and other avenues are best for some people.
Century College, for examples, offers a wonderful option for students. With more than 40 programs and 60 areas of study, Century College is an affordable option for students. Graduates enter the job market with effective training and degrees or certificates in many in-demand careers, including Engineering, Computer Science, Accounting and Nursing.
On average, an individual with a college degree will make 84% more than a person with just a high school degree. Here are a few numbers from a Georgetown University Report published in 2011:
· On average:
• A high school dropout can expect to earn $973,000 over a lifetime.
• Someone with a high school diploma can expect to earn $1.3 million over a lifetime.
• A worker with some college but no degree earns $1.5 million over a lifetime.
• An Associate’s degree-holder earns $1.7 million over a lifetime.
• A worker with a Bachelor’s degree will earn $2.3 million over a lifetime.
Continuing further on with academics will lead to higher earnings throughout a person’s life. Here are some numbers from the same study:
· On average:
• A Master’s degree-holder earns $2.7 million over a lifetime.
• A Doctoral degree-holder earns $3.3 million over a lifetime.
• A Professional degree-holder earns $3.6 million over a lifetime.
I welcome your input on higher education and on any other topic you feel is important. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call my office at 651-296-6820 or visit me at 205 Capitol, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155.