SAINT PAUL, MN—The Minnesota House passed the omnibus Higher Education conference committee report Sunday with bipartisan support on a 71-57 vote. The bill was agreed on earlier this weekend by a bipartisan group conference committee legislators representing the House and the Senate who were tasked with working out the differences between House and Senate Higher Education proposals. The bill passed the Senate earlier in the day Sunday 57-8, and now heads to the Governor where it awaits his signature.
The bill includes $100 million in increased funding for tuition relief for the Minnesota State College and Universities system, and funds a tuition freeze in 2016 and a 1% tuition reduction in 2017 at all two year MNSCU campuses, including Ridgewater Community College, which has a campus located in Hutchinson, MN.
The bill also includes provisions aimed at boosting agriculture education, including a agriculture teacher preparation program at Southwest Minnesota State University, the development and teaching of online agriculture classes by faculty at schools that offer farm business management education, and a pilot program to help veterans transition into agriculture-related jobs.
"Tuition relief is on the way for thousands of students thanks to this bipartisan Higher Education bill," Gruenhagen said. "This bill will lower student debt, and make it more affordable for students to attend college at Ridgewater here in our community."