Higher Education Conference Committee makes some process on budget bill

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The higher education conference committee this week made some progress, adopting some similar and technical language provisions. The members also heard testimony from advocates and students.

Most of those who came before the conference committee outlined concerns with budget goals and policy. Those who provided testimony were worried that the Senate’s budget target of $100 million for the next two-year budget was too low and would hurt school programs and result in layoffs. Most advocates supported the House position that invests $300 million for 2020-21.

Policy concerns include a Senate tuition cap for both the University of Minnesota and MinnState system schools – the bill does not provide funding to make up for the lost revenue, unlike the House bill which funds a tuition cap.

The conference committee also discussed the state grant program and changes were suggested in both bills.

No meetings have been scheduled for the weekend; work will continue next week while conference committees wait for global targets. (SF 2415)