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Heard about the tuition freeze next year at Minnesota public colleges and universities? If you haven’t, you will. Count on Gov. Mark Dayton and every reelection-seeking DFLer — and a few Republicans too — to brag about that feature of the 2014-15 state budget.

Campaign attention to higher education is way overdue. But I can’t muster a cheer for state politicians who think it’s their business to set tuition and run colleges. Those are jobs better left to governing boards.

It’s nice to hear from a politician who thinks the state ought to do something to remedy all of those ills, not just clamp down on tuition. That’s why I welcomed a visit from state Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, chair of the Senate’s higher education funding committee and the godmother of the new PIPELINE Project....

PIPELINE is an acronym for “Private Investment, Public Education Labor Industry Experience.” That’s the initiative’s long-winded name because an otherwise fitting label — apprenticeships — was deemed too much associated with long-established beginners’ programs in the construction trades.

With no disrespect to those fine occupations, PIPELINE isn’t about carpentry or plumbing. It’s about a new way for students to get a college degree with little or no debt and an assurance of a good job thereafter, and for employers to get and keep the workers they need....

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- - Volume: 2 - WEEK: 29 Date: 7/15/2014 7:37:31 AM -