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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Student leaders plan 95-mile walk to St. Paul

To emphasize higher education funding

Higher ed funding: Students will walk 95 miles to St. Paul.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office news release [5/13/2010]

Student leaders at Minnesota State University, Mankato plan to walk 95 miles from Mankato to St. Paul this weekend to draw attention to the importance of public funding for higher education.

Minnesota State Student Association President Tom Williams, vice president Brett Anderson and several other students will leave from Centennial Student Union at noon Friday, May 14, intending to arrive at the Capital at noon Monday, May 17.

“Higher education in Minnesota is facing budget cuts that severely impact the academic quality and student services of the state’s universities,” Williams said. “We are challenging legislators and gubernatorial candidates of this great state: If we walk from Minnesota State Mankato to the steps of the capital building, then we ask legislators and gubernatorial candidates to take part in an open forum on campus regarding the status of higher education in Minnesota.”

Williams and Anderson believe gubernatorial and legislative candidates need to address higher education, and students need to take an active role in the process.

“Yearly tuition increases have resulted in students paying more despite decreased class offerings, fewer professors, and fewer services,” Williams said. “The state of Minnesota made a commitment to provide more than 50 percent of the total revenue for higher education, and in 2009 the state reneged on that commitment.

“Currently students contribute 55 percent of total revenue, with projections showing yearly increases in their contribution,” Anderson added. “The continued pattern of decreased funding to higher education has left Minnesota’s graduates and future leaders with devalued degrees and more debt.”

On Friday afternoon Williams and Anderson will walk the Sakatah-Singing Hills Trail to Waterville. On Saturday they plan to hike from Waterville to Faribault on the trail, and then trek to Northfield on county and state highways. On Sunday they’ll walk county roads from Northfield to Airlake Airport in Lakeville, and then to Terrace Oaks East Park near the Minnesota Zoo. On Monday they’ll trek along the Mississippi River to Wabasha Street in St. Paul, and then will walk Cedar Street to the State Capitol.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive, doctoral university with 14,950 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 institutions across the state.

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