Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz wants to provide 2 years of tuition-free college to Minnesota students if elected to become the state’s next governor.
According to his campaign website, Walz wants to give “every Minnesotan a shot at higher education,” saying his administration would offer “2 years” of “tuition-free education at Minnesota state institutions for individuals whose families make less than 125k a year.”
Some of his Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party colleagues agree with the proposal, including State Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis), who wants to implement tuition-free college across the board if elected to Congress in November. Others, such as DFL candidate for Minnesota’s Second Congressional District Angie Craig, seem to disagree with the agenda.
“College isn’t for everybody. Our son, Josh, chose a different path. He’s pursuing an advanced manufacturing degree. In Congress, I will work to make vocational training programs more accessible,” Craig said in a recent campaign ad.
According to 2015 census data, the median household income in Minnesota was $63,500, which means the average Minnesota family would be eligible for Walz’s proposal under its $125,000 income threshold.
States and cities across the country are beginning to consider similar proposals, including New York, which became the first state in the nation to make to tuition free for middle class families at its public colleges. In 2016, when just New York City was considering making its community colleges tuition free, the city’s Independent Budget Office estimated that the plan would cost the city alone between $138 million and $232 million annually.
During Bernie Sanders’ historic run for president in 2016, the left-leaning Brookings Institute released a report revealing that his free college tuition plan would actually benefit the wealthy over the middle class.
“The non-tuition costs of attending college, including living expenses, are larger than the costs of tuition and fees for most students,” the report explained, noting that “free college, which does not address these expenses, leaves families from the bottom half of the income distribution with nearly $18 billion in annual out-of-pocket college costs that would not be covered by existing federal, state, and institutional grant programs.”
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