Legislative Update – May 21, 2017

Higher Education Omnibus bill passes

After being told by Gov. Mark Dayton their first proposal “fell short,” the omnibus higher education conference committee continued to craft a compromise Sunday.

Sunday afternoon, conferees adopted a conference committee report for HF2080/ SF943*, sponsored by Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) and Senate President Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville). The report spreadsheet can be found HERE.

The report passed the Senate floor with a 39-28 vote. Later in the day the report passed the House floor by a vote of 78-54. The report now heads to Governor Dayton for his signature.

The report represents a $3.28 billion in total spending target, a 2018-19 biennium base funding increase of $210 million — $85 million more than the previous proposal vetoed by the governor.

Higher Education Highlights:

In the report, Minnesota State received an additional $106 million over the biennium:

  • Campus Support – $91 million
  • ISRS Next Generation – $8 million
  • Workforce Development Scholarships – $1 million
  • Supplemental aid to non-metro colleges – $6 million

The Minnesota State Grant received an increase of $36 million. The University of Minnesota an additional $54 million.

Another provision was changed that would have required Minnesota State to freeze tuition during the 2017-18 academic year and reduce tuition by 1 percent in 2018-19.

Under the new proposal, 2017-2018 academic year tuition rates can not exceed the previous year’s rate by more than 1 percent. For the 2018-2019 academic year, tuition rates for undergraduates at colleges and universities can not exceed the 2017-2018 rate.

Tuition relief cannot be offset by increases in mandatory fees, but Minnesota State colleges and universities are permitted to increase different tuition charges to cover costs of programs facing increases due to unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances in both FY2018 and FY2019.

The bill requests a tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota over the biennium, but due to the university’s constitutional autonomy, the state cannot require it to adhere to legislative requests.

Policy Highlights:

A provision prohibiting mandatory student fees at Minnesota State and University of Minnesota campuses was replaced with a requirement that any student fee increase of more than 2 percent must be put to a student vote. If the University of Minnesota raises fees by more than 2 percent without a student vote approval, its appropriation base would be punitively decreased by 1 percent over the next biennium.

An amendment adopted Sunday would eliminate the cap for family living and miscellaneous expense tax allowance credits, instead setting the limit at an allowance of 101 percent of the federal poverty level.

HealthForce MN (through Winona State University) received $100,000 in the first-year only to develop educational materials that increase awareness of career opportunities available in the field of senior care.

Two provisions regarding developmental education were included in the final report:

  • The Office of Higher Education must make available on their website data on students who graduated from a Minnesota high school and are attending a MN public post-secondary institution on the number of students placed in supplemental or developmental education; the number who complete within one academic year and a number of other data elements.

Minnesota State must create a plan to reform developmental education offerings aimed at reducing the number of students placed into developmental education.

Read more…

Questions? Contact the Government Relations Team:

Jaime Simonsen
Bernie Omann
Jim Grathwol

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