The Higher Education budget negotiations stalled as the session neared its end on Monday, but the good news is that the new budget target of $100 million has the potential to increase funding for the state’s higher education institutions and programs.
The scant Senate Republican $45 million higher education budget target provided very little for the University of Minnesota and MinnState institutions, so the additional funds could help boost that appropriation. There were some positive funding initiatives including Hunger Free campus zones and basic needs resource grants. Other provisions supported by stakeholders that could benefit from the higher target include Aspiring Teachers of Color grants, Summer academic enrichment programs and Aid to Non-Metro colleges.
A few policy provisions were adopted prior to the end of the regular session:
- State Grant Eligibility providing additional semester of eligibility for those who care for a sick loved one;
- State Grant Awards – Excludes developmental education from counting against semester cap;
- Child Care Grant Eligibility – Allows an additional semester of eligibility for students who care for a spouse, child or parents with a serious health condition;
- MN Indian Scholarship Program – Expands eligibility to include members or citizens of tribes and allows full year scholarship awards;
- Higher Learning Commission – Requires institutions be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission;
- Permanent Student Records – Requires both private and out of state institutions and private career schools to maintain records related to students’ professional licenses for ten years;
- Proration – Clarifies private career school refund procedures for a student not completing an instructional program;
- Rare Disease Advisory Council – Name changed to include Chloe Barnes added to the title.