5 Ways Senate DFLers are Moving Minnesota Forward with Higher Education

Closing the Skills Gap

In light of the growing divide between worker skills and the employment needs of businesses, the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee included the MN PIPELINE (Private Investment/Public Education Labor-Industry Experience) Project in the Supplemental bill. This is an effort designed to close the skills gap in Minnesota.

Credit Transfers at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU)

MnSCU has a history of students experiencing difficulty when transferring credits between system schools. This bill requires the MnSCU board to develop and implement a baccalaureate plan to ensure students graduate within 60 credits after transferring to a system university following completion of an associate’s degree in the system. Then the board must report the plan to the committees with jurisdiction. This bill allows students to get the most value out of the dollars they spend on higher education at MnSCU.

Honoring Veterans Resident Tuition

A bill passed by the Senate would add to current statute that Minnesota public colleges and universities must allow honorably discharged veterans to receive resident tuition rates.  Currently, state law granting veterans resident tuition only applies to undergraduates and certain qualifying graduate and professional students.

Related:  Honoring Veterans, Extending In-State Tuition

Helping students refinance their high interest student loans

Legislation to allow students to refinance their student loans through the Office of Higher Education is part of the Senate’s supplemental Finance Bill. The legislation would guarantee lower interest rates for all Minnesota students graduating from Minnesota schools – either public or private. The students could refinance high interest loans that range as high as 9% to 12 % down to 3% or 4%.

Study Abroad Safety

Currently, there are few federal guidelines, oversight or transparent public reporting in the study abroad industry. Also, there are very few state laws that affect this industry. There are industry groups that develop best practices and have members’ standards, but very little is in place by a regulatory entity. This would be one of the first attempts to learn more about the safety of students abroad by a government entity.

Related: Two Minnesota lawmakers want better reporting of study abroad dangers [MPR News]

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