U of M Rochester students and vice chancellors weigh in on applications for school scholarship funding – Natural Self Esteem

ROCHESTER, Minnesota (KTTC) – The University of Minnesota is asking lawmakers to give the university $65 million. Most of the money would go to scholarships for freshmen.

House Bill 2752 was heard in the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee:

  • (a) $65,000,000 in FY2023 will be allocated from the general fund to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to improve access to higher education and reduce student costs. From this amount:
  • (1) $30,000,000 to expand the University of Minnesota’s system-wide Promise program to assist students with financial difficulties, including historically underrepresented students;
  • (2) $30,000,000 earmarked for a Greater Minnesota Scholarship at the University of Minnesota to attract and retain students to the University’s Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester campuses; and
  • (3) $5,000,000 to improve academic counseling, student mental health and well-being, tutoring needs, and financial literacy services at the University of Minnesota to meet increasing student demands to increase equity by strengthening support for students with historically low retention and graduation rates, and are more proactive in addressing issues that are slowing students’ progress towards the completion of their studies.

Some students at UMR were pleased with the school’s efforts to provide financial support to students.

“As a prospective freshman, you like to look at the costs for the campus. It was a lot and it kind of surprised me how much I was going to spend. So the opportunity to have both scholarships is really nice,” said a sophomore, Mikayla Hanson.”

“If there were more money to bring in more freshmen and to help them with this crucial factor in getting down that college path, I encourage that very much,” said a sophomore, Kayla Masterman.

“You allow them to educate themselves. And that’s really important, because our future is the future freshmen that come in, so I think it would be really great,” said Isaac Huiras, a sophomore.

According to Vice Challencor, Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain, 40 percent of incoming students come from low-income households and about 35 percent are first-generation college students.

“The success of many of these programs to support students who have traditionally been excluded from higher education. The investment that we have been able to make in our students and families in this state and that we have been successful in assimilating them,” he said.

Why not lower tuition fees?

“We have bills to pay, and tuition is a way for us to set our budget so that we can plan ahead,” Ratliff-Craine said. “That we have the resources for the excellent teachers, the facilities, the support and everything else we need for the students.”

He said tuition is only part of what students pay for college.

“Grants like this contribute to the overall cost of attendance, not just tuition,” Ratliff-Craine said.

The university gave KTTC the following information about the scholarships:

System-wide promise program

  • Targeted help for students in greatest need, including historically underrepresented students.
  • Increase the current award from $4,000 to $5,300 for students from lowest-income families.
  • Increase each bounty you move up the income scale.
  • Raise the upper income threshold for eligibility from $120,000 to $160,000 (double the Minnesota median income) to support middle-income students who carry most of the debt.
  • Add approximately $300 to $1,300 to the lowest premium in the higher-income program.

New Greater Minnesota Scholarship

  • Attracting and retaining students in UMC, UMD, UMM and UMR.
  • $4,000 to $5,000 in the first year for each MN resident entering as a freshman at these colleges. Each of these students will have an additional $1,000-$2,000 per year available annually for Years 2-4.
  • This program is superior to all other existing utilities. These estimates cover Minnesota’s current total enrollment and support growth toward the enrollment goal for each of these campuses.

State tuition for undergraduates is $28,942. If scholarship funding is approved, a freshman student may receive a $10,000 tuition rebate if eligible for both scholarships.

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