Sen. Draheim’s college affordability bill heard in Higher Ed. Committee

Legislation ensures online courses are as affordable, or more so, than in-person courses

Legislation chief-authored by Senator Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) to make college more affordable was heard in the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, March 5. The bill states that “the tuition for an online course must not exceed the tuition for a comparable on-campus classroom course.” Current students enrolled at Minnesota State college campuses testified during the committee hearing that they are being charged more for their online courses than their on-campus courses.

“During my entire tenure in the Minnesota Senate, college affordability has been a top priority,” said Senator Draheim. “By their very nature, online courses avoid the added costs of facilities, utilities, and maintenance staff. In this technological age, there does not seem to be a compelling reason as to why online courses would cost more than traditional classroom courses.”

Students explained in committee that reasons for taking online courses included work flexibility, caring for children, and managing professional commitments.

“Many students work part-time or full-time jobs to pay for their college education,” added Senator Draheim. “Students who take an online course to accommodate their schedules should not be punished by paying more for their tuition. Instead, we should work towards increasing opportunities for Minnesotans to pursue a college degree.”