Legislative Update – February 4, 2015

Yesterday at the Capitol

The Office of Higher Education (OHE) presented multiple updates and reports to the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee yesterday afternoon. They started by discussing the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System, or SLEDS report. According to OHE, Minnesota developed the SLEDS program to be able to match student data from pre-kindergarten through completion of postsecondary education and into the workforce. Meredith Fergus, Manager for Financial Aid Research/SLEDS at the Office of Higher Education, told members that the SLEDS tool can assist in identifying the most viable pathways for individuals in achieving successful outcomes in education and work. By using the data, one is able to identify predictors of long-term student success, design targeted improvement strategies in programs, improve data driven decision making and meet federal funding requirements. SLEDS Mobile Analytics can be found at www.sleds.mn.gov

Marilyn Kosir, SELF Loan Manager with the Office of Higher Education, presented a report on Creating a SELF Loan Refinance Program. Ms. Kosir told members that the SELF Loan (Student Educational Loan Fund) program was authorized in 1984 and is a self-sustaining program funded by tax-exempt and taxable revenue bonds and loan repayments.  Since the program’s inception, over 250,000 students have received more than $2 billion in SELF Loans to pursue a postsecondary education. Kosir said borrowers refinance their student loans for several reasons including; lower interest rates, change the length of the loan repayment terms, consolidate multiple loans from different lenders, and lower monthly payments. In 2014, the Legislature authorized OHE to begin a student loan refinancing program. The report is intended to provide a framework for establishing a SELF Loan Refinancing program and outline strategic modifications to the existing SELF Loan program to better meet the needs of students and reduce their need to refinance. The report can be found at: http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/pdf/SELFRefinancingReport.pdf

Megan FitzGibbon, Manager of State Scholarship Programs with OHE, presented an update on the Greater Minnesota Internship Program. FitzGibbons said that the program, which was signed into law in 2013, allows Greater Minnesota employers to enter into agreements with campuses located in Greater Minnesota to hire student interns and earn tax credits. FitzGibbons said there was low usage and participation with the program and cited statutory barriers that are making it difficult for employers and campuses to participate and students to qualify. Chair Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, said the Legislature is likely to not move forward with the program as it currently stands in future years because of the low participation.

Maren Henderson, Legislative Liaison for OHE, presented the Study Abroad report, a report that came out of legislation in 2014 that requires postsecondary institutions that offer or approve credit for participation in educational programs abroad to report incidents of hospitalization and death that occurred “as a result of program participation.” Henderson said the timeline consists of campuses reporting data by November 1, 2015, and the report will then be available January 1, 2016. Henderson said some of the key questions have been: who is included, how are study abroad programs defined, what data is included, how does an institution learn about an incident, and how will crimes and sexual assaults against students abroad be reported. The Study Abroad Regulation report can be found at: http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/pdf/StudyAbroadReport.pdf

The last report presented to the committee addresses barriers to completion and was presented by Shaun Williams-Wyche, Research Analyst with the Office of Higher Education. Williams-Wyche told members that retention needs to improve for three key groups; lower-income students, students of color and low-wage working adults. He discussed research-based best practices that are currently being implemented on campuses around Minnesota. Those include practices such as, expanding high-impact activities; summer bridge programs for targeted students; developing cohort models of block scheduling for key groups; developing low cost, on-campus child care to accommodate student-parents; implementing intrusive advising; implementing opt-out scheduling; appropriately structured developmental education; improving transfer alignment between institutions; expanding prior learning assessment; developing competency based degree programs; broadening alternative delivery models; expanding dual enrollment and PSEO; and expanding apprenticeship and paid internships related to education programs. The report can be found at: http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/pdf/BarriersToCompletionReport.pdf

Today at the Capitol

8:15 a.m.

House State Government Finance

Room: 200 State Office Building

Chair: Rep. Sarah Anderson

Agenda: Presentation of the Governor’s Budget
Minnesota Management and Budget: Commissioner Myron Frans, Enterprise Resource Planning Director Michelle Weber
Department of Revenue: Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly, CFO Peter Skwira, Asst. Commissioner Terri Steenblock
Department of Administration Legislative Liaison Matt Scherer

2:00 p.m.

Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development
Room: 112 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Dan Sparks
Agenda: MN Milk Producers presentation
Department of Agriculture Budget – Overview of Change Items
S.F. 152-Schmit: Agritourism professionals liability immunity.

Looking Ahead

Thursday, February 5

8:15 a.m.

House Education Innovation Policy

Room: Basement State Office Building

Chair: Rep. Sondra Erickson

Agenda: Presentations on career and technical education.

8:30 a.m.
Senate Education

Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
Agenda: S.F. 298-Stumpf: Temporary teaching licensure extension to initial teaching licensure authorization.

11:00 a.m.
Senate in Session

12:45 p.m.
House Capital Investment
Room: 10 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Paul Torkelson

Agenda: Overview of the MMB Cancellation Report

12:45 p.m.
House Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jenifer Loon
Agenda: Minnesota Department of Education – Presentation on Teacher Development and Evaluation/Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System Alignment Work Group

2:00 p.m.
Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development

Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff
Agenda: Minnesota PIPELINE Project 2015 Progress Report, Department of Labor and Industry
S.F. 5-Bonoff: Workforce development; employees dual training competency grants program development and appropriation.
Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development – Presentations  on the Net Impact Reports for Workforce Programs and the Itasca Project’s Task Force related to Improving Higher Education

3:30 p.m.

House in Session

Tuesday, February 10

4:00 p.m.
Joint Meeting: Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development; House Committee on Higher Education Policy and Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chairs: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff, Rep. Bud Nornes
Agenda: Recommend nominees for the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to be presented to a Joint Convention of the Legislature

Thursday, February 12

8:30 a.m.
Senate E-12 Budget Division
Room: 107 Capitol
Chair: Sen. Charles W. Wiger
Agenda: MDE reports on testing and teacher evaluation


Thank you.


Melissa Fahning
Director of Legislative Communications
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
651-201-1757 (work) 612-483-3741 (cell)

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