Undergraduate students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for St. Thomas “Day at the Capitol” on Thursday, March 12, and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of the Minnesota State Grant Program.
The visit will be from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and participants will join members of a St. Thomas political science class in meetings with senators and representatives from their home districts. St. Thomas will run a bus between the St. Paul campus and the capitol.
This year, the State Grant Program has awarded $5.7 million in need-based financial aid to 1,356 St. Thomas students who are Minnesota residents, for an average grant of $4,225. The state program is one of two government-backed grant programs; 1,143 St. Thomas students receive federal Pell Grants totaling $4.5 million this year, an average of $3,985.
Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing a $25 million increase in the state program for the next two academic years. If approved by the legislature, the increase would result in a $500 increase for a student eligible for a maximum grant. Two years ago, Dayton and the legislature increased two-year funding for the program by $50 million, and the average grant received by a St. Thomas recipient jumped by $300 last year.
“The governor and lawmakers recognize the value of the grant program and are willing to invest additional money to help students pay for their education opportunities,” said Doug Hennes, vice president for university and government relations at St. Thomas. “Our Day at the Capitol visits will provide a great opportunity for students to say thank you and explain how the program helps them pay for their education.”
People can sign up for Day at the Capitol through March 8 but are encouraged to do so as early as possible in order to give the Minnesota Private College Council enough time to schedule meetings with legislators. Sign up online.