ST. PAUL, Minn. – Starting in the fall of 2016 Minnesota high school students may have a new path to higher education available to them. On Monday the Senate voted to pass the Omnibus Higher Education bill which includes $24.3 million to fund Sen. LeRoy Stumpf’s (DF-Plummer) College Tuition Relief Bill. The bill funds two free years of tuition at any Minnesota State College and Universities system school (MnSCU). Sen. Stumpf says he’s happy to see his bill one step closer to being signed into law.
“This bill addresses the skills gap that the entire state is experiencing, and it also offers a new, debt-free path for students who may not have considered higher education,” said Stumpf. “I’m really happy the Senate passed this bill, the next step for this legislation is to move to conference committee.”
Several of Stumpf’s other education related bills were passed by the Senate E-12 committee last week and await a full Senate vote next week. One of those bills include $17 million for Q Comp in FY2017 which brings equity to the school funding system. This legislation will allow all school districts to qualify and receive money from the state-funded alternative compensation program. This means all Minnesota school districts will be able to offer teachers career advancement options, job-embedded professional development, performance pay and more.
Several smaller appropriations include $200,000 over the biennium for a Mobile Manufacturing Lab, which brings state-of-the art manufacturing machinery and classes to high schools throughout Northwest Minnesota. It’s a timely program offering much-needed instruction. Stumpf says the lab is helping fill an ever-increasing demand for technical education courses.
The Northwest Online College in the High School program also received $100,000 over the FY16-17 biennium. This program makes it easier for high achieving students in Minnesota high schools to access college courses online. Students earn college credits while taking advanced courses such as advanced physiology and juvenile justice, all while the students are at their own high schools.
“For rural parts of the state, accessing high quality programming, college courses and technical education is more difficult, I’m happy to say these bills will make a difference,” said Stumpf. “The Mobile Manufacturing Lab is a really interesting program and I hope its success will spread to other parts of the state as well.”
For more information, Sen. Stumpf can be reached at LeRoyS@senate.mn or at (651) 296-8660.