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State college costs twice U.S. average

Minnesota students pay more out of pocket, even with grants and other aid

From the Pioneer Press:

Even with a generous state grant program and other financial aid, the net cost of a public college education in Minnesota is nearly twice the national average.

That's a key finding in a new report by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, which notes some families are paying a big chunk of their annual income to finance their kids' education.

The numbers might not shock anyone who has paid a tuition bill recently. Charges have more than doubled in a decade at the University of Minnesota and in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Still, the data show that even with grants and scholarships, Minnesota is an expensive place to attend a public college or university.

And it may get even more expensive soon because colleges and universities may be pressured to reset tuition increases higher this fall to help close a projected billion-dollar state budget gap.

Among its findings, the Office of Higher Education discovered:

-- Net tuition and fees — an amount minus state grants and other aid — for first-year, full-time students in 2005-06 were $4,720 at Minnesota's public universities, about twice the national average and slightly higher than its Big Ten peer states. Minnesota's two-year schools showed similar patterns.

-- Two-thirds of seniors graduating from the state's public universities had student loan debt in 2006, and that debt averaged $21,000 — both numbers higher than the average of Big Ten states.

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