Students Bring Concerns to Governor Dayton

Posted at: 12/04/2013 9:34 PM
Updated at: 12/04/2013 10:55 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Governor Mark Dayton was at the Winona State Campus Wednesday afternoon, answering questions from the university's president and from students from all three colleges in the area. They covered a handful of topics but, of course, higher education was on the forefront.

It was a packed house ran mostly by the crowd and since a majority were students, a lot of questions centered around the costs and challenges of higher education. "I brought up work study, obviously it’s federally based, but I think with the funding that's helped out with grants, there's more to that, that we need to do," said Saint Mary's University student Conner Ellinghuysen

A big concern among student there, was needing experience to get a job. "When students are leaving, they may have a great education but the problem is that they don't have that experience that they need to get a job," said Ellinghuysen.

That is something that can be tough for college students, if internships are unpaid. "I had to drive 25 miles to Winona just to do that, and then drive another 25 miles home without any reimbursements, no money, and then paying for 3 credits of an internship on top of that to the tuition," said Southeast Technical College Student Gabriel Hall.

"There were some very good suggestions about internships, paid internships, and also a college work study program that makes up for what the federal government has dropped," said Governor Dayton. He pointed out the student assistance legislation that passed in the legislature this past year. "About 120 million dollars the state put into MnSCU and University of Minnesota tuitions to freeze them for the next two years," said Gov. Dayton.

However, the governor admits there are still challenges ahead for students. "We're the ones who are definitely going through that process and it could be a long four years of stress and it’s important to us," said Ellinghuysen.

“The questions here really struck my conscious and made me realize that we have more that we need to accomplish," said Governor Dayton.

Other topics discussed were the problems with MNsure and concerns with silica sand mining. Governor Dayton says he's taking all suggestions with him to the capitol.