On Sunday, Senate Republicans passed a bipartisan education budget that advances Minnesota by prioritizing students, invests in our state institutions and develops a future generation of the work force. The bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate 39-28, is product of negotiations between the Senate, House and Governor.
“This year’s higher education bill makes a strong investment in Minnesota’s college students with over $200 million in new investments in our institutions,” said Senator Torrey Westrom [R-Elbow Lake]. “This bill provides an opportunity for Minnesota’s students to go to two- or four-year schools to get their degree and enhance their career opportunities.”
The legislation makes an investment of $3.28 billion in Minnesota’s post-secondary institutions and students, workforce training, and research, and represents an increase of $210 million over the previous budget. Included is $54.64 million for the University of Minnesota and its campuses whcih will help support initiatives like its Core Mission Support allowing the university to retain faculty and programs and provide safe and reliable infrastructure.
S.F. 943 also aims to keep college affordable, providing additional funding for the Minnesota State Grant program for children from low and middle income families. The legislation also aims to control skyrocketing tuition increases by limiting state institutions to a 1% growth at two-year colleges during the 2017-2018 academic year and freezing both two- and four-year institutions during the 2018-2019 period. There is also a renewed investment of $1 million for scholarships for Native American students at the U of M’s Morris campus.
Additionally, the legislation includes provisions to provide loan forgiveness to agriculture educators, establish an academic program for students with disabilities, and establish a workforce develop scholarship to encourage students to enter high -demand occupations after graduation.