Higher education conference committee wraps up discussion for the week
The omnibus higher education conference committee met again today and walked through the policy provisions in the House bill. No action was taken on any of the provisions. Committee staff did identify one more provision that is identical in both bills, so conferees did adopt that provision. This is the statute regarding planning information for postsecondary education that the Office of Higher Education provides. Language was added that includes providing postsecondary education options for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The conference committee is scheduled to meet next on Monday, May 13, tentatively at 2:00 p.m.
As for the overall budget, Governor Walz and legislative leaders will be fishing together this weekend for the Minnesota fishing opener. Officially, they are scheduled to meet Sunday evening to continue negotiations on the 2020-2021 budget and determine a way to wrap up the session.
FY 2020 LHHS-ED funding bill passes out of committee
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Appropriations held a markup of its fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS-ED). Overall, the bill includes an $11.7 billion increase over FY 2019 enacted funding levels. Discretionary programs under the Department of Education were provided a cumulative increase of $4.4 billion over FY 2019 enacted levels.
The bill’s funding levels for higher education priorities, include:
- Pell Grants: $150 increase to the maximum award for the 2020-2021 academic year, bringing the maximum award level to $6,345.
- Strengthening Community College Training Grants (SCCTG): $150 million for a new investment in community colleges and eligible four-year partners. This competitive grant is structured as a successor to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant program (TAACCCT). Funding will help meet local and regional labor market demand for a skilled workforce by providing training to workers in in-demand industries.
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: An increase of $188 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $1 billion.
- Federal Work Study: An increase of $304 million of FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $1.4 billion.
- Perkins Career and Technical Education State Grants: An increase of $47 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $1.31 billion.
- Adult Basic Education State Grants: An increase of $30 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $686 million.
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants: An increase of $178 million of FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $3 billion.
- Strengthening Institutions Program (Title III-A): An increase of $10 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $110 million.
- Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities: An increase of $19 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $51 million.
- TRIO: An increase of $100 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $1.1 billion.
- GEAR UP: An increase of $35 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $395 million.
- Child Care Access Means Parents in School: An increase of $10 million over FY 2019 enacted levels, with a total allocation of $60 million.
- Centers of Excellence for Veterans Student Success Program: An allocation of $10 million. This program was unfunded in FY 2019.
An amendment was passed during the full committee markup to increase funding for state grants under Perkins Career and Technical Education and Adult Basic Education. Those increases were $10 million and $7 million respectively, and are reflected in the totals above. The House may consider the committee-passed LHHS-ED bill on the floor as early as June.
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