Legislative Update – April 20, 2018

Senate higher education committee confirms Trustees

The Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy committee confirmed seven Board of Trustee members in committee yesterday. trusteesThe trustees include: Basil Ajuo, Amanda Fredlund, Jerry Janezich, Roger Moe, Rudy Rodriguez, Cheryl Tefer and Michael Vekich. The confirmations will now go to the Senate floor, where the entire body will need to vote.

House higher education committee passes omnibus bill

The House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance committee passed their omnibus bill as amended Wednesday afternoon and referred it to the Ways and Means committee where it will be heard Monday.

As shared earlier, the bill appropriates the $5 million committee budget target to the cyber security program at Metropolitan State University. The bill also reallocates $1 million of surplus funding from the college occupational scholarship pilot program administered by the Office of Higher Education and appropriates that funding to the following:

  • $500,000 one-time funding to Minnesota State for renewal of workforce development scholarships
  • $350,000 one-time funding to the Office of Higher Education for the State Grant program
  • $100,000 one-time funding to the Office of Higher Education for the Agricultural Educators Loan Forgiveness program
  • $50,000 one-time funding to the Office of Higher Education for the Student Loan Debt Counseling program

Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would split the $5 million appropriation between Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota. The amendment would have appropriated $2.5 million to both systems for student tuition relief.

Vice Chancellor and CFO Laura King with Minnesota State shared with committee members that Minnesota State has concerns with the amount of the budget target, and testified that over the remaining weeks of session, Minnesota State will continue to make the case for the “much needed funding for our colleges and universities.” King said, “As you’ll recall, our Board of Trustee request is for a total of $31 million for campus support and our NextGen request. Our entire request is focused on helping our campuses financially to deliver the programs to meet Minnesota’s workforce needs in every corner of the state.”

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