Bipartisan Higher Education Omnibus Passes

The Senate Higher Education Omnibus Bill passed by a vote of 41-22 off of the floor this week. This bipartisan bill provides a comprehensive framework to serve Minnesota post-secondary students. This language directs state resources to align with workforce development and supporting our students. All together, the omnibus bill includes $205 million in new spending for Minnesota’s higher education systems.

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The Omnibus Higher Education Bill includes:

  • Two-year technical college is available at no cost for qualifying low and middle income students to help get the skills and experiences they need to be prepared to work in the highly skilled job openings around the state;
  • The U of M and MnSCU receive increased appropriations and are asked to keep tuition affordable, reduce administrative costs and deliver stronger student outcomes with $60 million towards the U of M and $58.7 million towards MnSCU;
  • An amendment was offered on the floor to directing MnSCU to freeze tuition for one year;
  • Increases funding for the State Grant program, allowing more than 80,000 students to receive an increase in their grant and allowing an additional 15,000 students and families to take advantage of the program.
  • Resources are provided to expand agriculture education and maximize Minnesota’s leadership in this sector. This will help to address a shortage of qualified educators in one of Minnesota’s most important fields;
  • An investment of $25 million in the U of M Medical School will help the U of M retain its national prominence and help train the next generation of Minnesota’s health care professionals. These investments and related commitment to research reflect the work of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission;
  • Oversight reporting language provides accountability measures for human subject testing failures at the University of Minnesota;
  • The bill holds 5% of each system’s 2017 appropriation back until the system meets various performance metrics, ensuring Minnesota’s tax dollars are spent achieving statewide priorities.

(S.F. 5)

Senate DFL Media