The Senate Finance Committee heard this week the proposed Higher Education supplemental budget bill. Despite the overwhelming need, and a requirement in law that the state fund two-thirds of higher education, it included virtually no funding for the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State Systems. The U of M has specifically raised the need to fund their public safety infrastructure, but the bill grants less than five percent of the request.
The bill also contains no funding increase for the State Grant program – the real gateway to higher education for thousands of families across Minnesota. By contrast, the governor’s budget invests $14 million in state grants, and would extend eligibility to ten semesters, understanding the reality that students are taking longer to complete degrees. At a time when costs are skyrocketing, and more and more young Minnesotans are weighed down by student debt, this bill is absolutely not what Minnesotans should expect. (SF 3510)