Thanks for the work for students

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On behalf of Minnesota college students, we want to thank a special group of bi-partisan legislators for working to remove a critical barrier for students pursuing a post-secondary education. The problem: one in four Minnesota high school graduates are required to enroll in and pay tuition for remedial classes. These courses cover material the students already passed — or weren’t offered — in high school and which taxpayers have already paid for.

Remedial classes saddle students with millions of dollars of additional debt, don’t earn them college credits, and deter them from completing their degrees — at a time when an increasing number of Minnesota jobs require post-secondary education. This issue directly impacts students throughout the state from the Twin Cities to Greater Minnesota, as well as taxpayers and our business community.

But Students for Education Reform-Minnesota is working with a bi-partisan group of legislators at the Capitol on bills that would allow students at Minnesota State Colleges and University schools to enroll in credit-bearing, college-level courses while receiving supplemental academic instruction. They would replace remedial courses with “corequisite” courses that provide extra support to help students gain the foundational skills they need while increasing their chances of college success.

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A number of other states have adopted similar approaches with great success. Both bills have now passed through their respective committees. Thanks to co-sponsors of the House bill (HF 647): Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center; Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe; Josh Heintzman, R-Nisswa; Jason Isaacson, DFL-Little Canada; Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie; Joe McDonald, R-Delano (lead sponsor); Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul; Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul; Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City; and Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River. And thanks as well to the co-sponsors of the Senate bill: Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka; Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley (lead sponsor); Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury; Branden Petersen, R-Andover; and Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis.

Our college students already fulfilled the requirements for a high school diploma. They shouldn’t have to pay tuition to repeat that material. We urge community members to ask your local legislators to support this legislation that, as Senator Clausen noted, “makes both financial and educational sense for Minnesota.”


Latasha Gandy

Managing director

Students for Education Reform-Minnesota