Governor Dayton outlines higher education priorities

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Governor Mark Dayton said Saturday that he would like to use a projected budget surplus to to lower the cost of higher education.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that Dayton told about 300 college students Saturday at the Minnesota State College Student Association Leadership Summit that after the schools are paid off if there is money left over though that there will be a frenzy at the legislature about how to use the money.

The governor also outlined his priorities for the 2014 legislative session including bonding projects for both the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems.

Dayton says tuition and fees have increased by three times the rate of inflation over the last decade. That has Minnesota students taking out loans at one of the highest rates in the nation, with the average graduate now leaving school with nearly $30,000 in student debt.

Dayton says that trend isn't sustainable or fair to Minnesotans who are seeking a better future.

Dayton says by 2018, an estimated 70 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require some education beyond high school, but only 40 percent of Minnesotans hold post-secondary degrees.

Earlier this month, statistics showing the default rate on student loan debt in Minnesota had increased from 9 to 11 percent.

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