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Higher Education

Funding package proposed

published 5/7/2007
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Gov. Tim Pawlenty is likely going to give his grade to a higher education funding package.

After some sharpening of pencils to create the financial and language details, the conference committee report on SF1989 was approved by the Omnibus Higher Education Finance Conference Committee. It is expected to be on the House and Senate floors Tuesday.

The $3.16 billion package includes nearly $361.5 million in new spending, including approximately $135.4 million for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and nearly $134.5 million for the University of Minnesota. It also includes new monies towards the state grant program and $10 million in new funding for the Minnesota GI Bill.

A provision that would have likely guaranteed a veto is not part of the final product; but a way to help those the language would have affected is included.

The so-called “Dream Act,” which would have provided instate tuition to illegal immigrants was not included. Instead, a compromise would require more MnSCU schools to offer a flat tuition rate, as already occurs at 13 campuses.

The agreement includes $4 million for college readiness programs that would help students take more rigorous courses in preparation for postsecondary schooling, an allocation that could get the bill vetoed because it is far less than the governor’s request.

- Mike Cook

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