Letter: Bennett should have supported higher education program

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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In the Sunday, May 21, edition of the Albert Lea Tribune, Rep. Peggy Bennett spoke out against a plan that would provide tuition-free higher education to households with incomes less than $80,000 per year. The latest information from the United States Census Bureau has the median household income for the city of Albert Lea at $51,047. Furthermore 67.7% of the 7,876 Albert Lea households report income less than $75,000 per year. It would be safe to say seven out of 10 Albert Lea households would benefit from a tuition-free higher education program for households earning less than $80,000 per year.

Rural Minnesota cities like Albert Lea are facing a worker shortage. Free tuition programs used at our own Riverland Community College would go far to upgrade the skill level in our own local workforce. The median household income for all of Minnesota is $77,706 per year — this is $26,659 per year more than the $51,047 per year median household income for Albert Lea. It seems that Rep. Peggy Bennett, who we elected to advocate for our community, should be supporting a higher education program that would help residents of Albert Lea earn at least the same household income as the rest of the state of Minnesota.

Terry Gjersvik

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