Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Higher Education Conference Committee Report. I want to provide you with a brief update on the bill, which will directly benefit students at the University of Minnesota (U of M) and the Minnesota State Colleges and University system (MnSCU).
The bill will freeze tuition at the U of M and MnSCU for undergraduates for the next two years. College tuition has been increasing for the last decade, and this will help to make higher education more affordable for students and their families. The bill also includes new funding for the State Grant Program to aid low and medium income students. The bill allocates funds to the MnDrive research program at the University of Minnesota and the Office of Higher Education to increase grants for access, choice, and debt reduction.
There are new reforms in the Higher Education plan to better hold the U of M and MnSCU accountable for their budgeting practices. These reforms will increase oversight of state funding to ensure that tax dollars on being spent in ways that will directly impact students. This session, the House Higher Education Committee held fourteen hearings on oversight, examining tuition increases, fees, and debt over the past six years, including student-to-faculty ratios, and administrative costs and trends. The resulting reforms were drafted in consultation with the Office of the Legislative Auditor to expand oversight and to ensure spending is controlled.
The measures in this bill will hold down tuition costs and reduce debt. These are two important items that will help to make achieving a college education more affordable for Minnesota families.
Please contact me directly with any questions, comments, or concerns on the higher education bill or any other legislative issues. I can be reached by phone at (651) 296-4255 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lyndon R. Carlson
Crystal, New Hope and Plymouth