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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL)

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Legislative Update - August 2, 2019

Friday, August 02, 2019

Dear neighbors,

I recently had the opportunity to meet University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, the first woman to hold this position! We have a lot to look forward to under her new leadership. 

As a proud U of M alum, I believe that all Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to get a quality education without being crippled by student debt for decades. There’s more work to be done in this area, but the higher education budget that I helped pass this session is a step in the right direction.

Supporting Our Students

The higher education budget creates new opportunities for current students at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. We increased financial support for working families by investing in the state grant program. Students who are currently enrolled in the program will receive more assistance, and others will become eligible for the first time. We also provided funding for the following student support programs and resources:

  • Mental health services: We established affordable mental health services at several MinnState campuses.
  • Workforce Development Scholarships: Community and technical college students who are pursuing high-demand careers in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care, information technology, early childhood, and transportation are eligible for these scholarships. They help students pursue a satisfying career and address Minnesota’s workforce shortages in key areas. Several scholarships are still available for this fall. Interested students should contact the admissions or financial aid office at MinnState colleges.
  • Emergency assistance: This program helps meet immediate needs – such as housing, food, and transportation – that could result in a student not completing a term.
  • Intervention for College Attendance Grants: These grants help keep middle school, high school, and college students in school and on track to graduate on time.
  • Open textbooks: We established a pilot program to encourage the use of open textbooks, reducing costs for students.  

 

Making college more affordable is good for our students and our economy. Too many Minnesotans are struggling to make high student loan payments and delaying milestones like buying a house or starting a family. That’s why we provided counseling that will help borrowers pay off their loans. There’s more work to be done to address the source of the student loan crisis, but we supported past and future Minnesota students by investing in the following initiatives:

  • Teacher Shortage Loan Repayment: This program provides grants to teachers who work in communities that are experiencing teacher shortages. It helps teachers pay off their student loans and encourages them to teach in areas where they’re most needed.
  • College Possible: College Possible supports low-income Minnesotans on their path to and through graduation.
  • Minnesota Reconnect: This program helps adult learners re-enroll and finish their postsecondary education by providing support and scholarships.

 

Property Tax Refund

This is a friendly reminder to apply for a property tax refund before the August 15 deadline. Many homeowners and renters are eligible for a refund, but many forget to file for it. Take a few minutes to see if you qualify and review application instructions at www.revenue.state.mn.us/property-tax-refund.

It’s a privilege to serve our community. Please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Ami Wazlawik
State Representative

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