Surplus State Grant Money

OHE recently released projections showing a surplus of about $74 million dollars in the State Grant fund during FY2016-2017. This money, which generally helps low-and moderate-income families, can be reinvested into the state grant formula allowing lawmakers to get more dollars directly into the hands of Minnesota students and families.

A bill was heard that changes various components of the state grant program. The state of Minnesota expects families to invest in their students’ postsecondary education based on their ability to pay, called Assigned Family Responsibilities (AFR). For dependent students, AFR drops from 96% to 79% of the parental contribution. For independent students with dependents other than a spouse, the AFR drops from 86% to 70% of the student contribution. For independent students without dependents other than a spouse, the AFR drops from 50% to 34%.

The State Grant Tuition Cap increases to a maximum of $13,620 for each fiscal year for students in four-year programs and $5,808 for each fiscal year for students in two-year programs.

The Living and Miscellaneous (LME) expense allowance for this biennium is set at $8,858 for FY2016 and $8,958 for FY2017. The LME allowance recognizes goods and services directly associated with attending, such as room, board, and books. For students attending any institution, these expenses increase the price of attending.

More than 80,000 students will see an increase in their grant to help them complete their education. An additional 15,000 students and families would be able to take advantage of the State Grant Program, making college more affordable for low- and middle-income students and their families.

STATUS: The bill is in the Finance Committee. (S.F. 1194)

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