Conferees adopt higher education article
The supplemental budget conference committee adopted the higher education article today. The higher education article budget target agreement is $3 million. That money is appropriated to Minnesota State for campus support. There is an additional $1 million (one-time) of surplus funding available from the college occupational scholarship pilot program administered by the Office of Higher Education. That surplus is appropriated as follows:
- $500,000 to Minnesota State for renewal of workforce development scholarships
- $300,000 to the Office of Higher Education for the State Grant program
- $100,000 to the Office of Higher Education for the Agricultural Educators Loan Forgiveness program
- $50,000 to the Office of Higher Education for the Student Loan Debt Counseling program
- $50,000 to the Office of Higher Education for a Teacher Preparation Program Design Grant
Also included in the bill is language regarding developing a textbook plan. Minnesota State is required to develop a plan to increase the use of affordable textbooks and instructional materials. The plan must establish a goal for the percentage of all courses offered at state colleges and universities that will use affordable textbooks and instructional materials.
There is also language that expands the list of provisions that must be included in an institution’s sexual assault policy by adding a requirement the policy provide for notice to a sexual assault victim regarding available legal resources.
The bill establishes a program administered by the Office of Higher Education to provide grants to qualified organizations offering student loan debt repayment counseling.
There is language that allows for the Office of Higher Education to make a grant to an institution of higher education to explore, design, and plan for a teacher preparation program leading to licensure as a teacher of the blind or visually impaired.
House approves bonding bill
The House took up the bonding bill on the floor today and passed it by a vote of 84-39. By law, a bonding bill needs a three-fifths majority, which is 81 votes, in order to pass. As shared earlier, the House provides for $123 million in bonding for Minnesota State, of which $40 million is for asset preservation.
In the Senate, the Senate Finance committee took up the Senate bonding bill, and after passing three technical amendments, and much discussion regarding the bill, committee members passed the bill and sent it to the Senate floor where it will be heard next. The Senate bill includes $120 million for Minnesota State, of which $65 million is for asset preservation.
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