See you soon.
Just as I was done with the Senate coverage, the House took up the bill and passed it 76-56.
Most of the opposition seemed to center on the idea that the state was giving $250 million more to two higher-ed systems that have never learned to reform themselves and cut costs.
State Rep. Gene Pelowski told the House that most of the money is going toward student financial aid and tuition relief.
And he said the bill has reporting requirements to make sure colleges and universities spend money wisely:
“We will hold them accountable — both the University of Minnesota and MnSCU. We will hold them accountable for the next year on how this money is spent.”
Having won approval from both the House and Senate, the bill must now move on to the governor for his signature.
This afternoon, the state Senate passed 44-22 the higher-education bill approved by the conference committee last night.
The main news for most of the public: It freezes tuition for two years for undergraduates at both the University of Minnesota and state-run colleges and universities.
The bill made the freeze possible by spending more than $120 million for tuition relief at the U and MnSCU.
Republican opponents of the bill said it doesn’t do enough to force higher-education institutions to cut costs, and so didn’t want to feed the system that much money.
Senate minority leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) told lawmakers:
“There hasn’t been, to my understanding, to my knowledge, any serious effort on the part of higher education institutions to figure out: How do we reform what we’re doing and make higher education affordable?”
But Senate higher-ed Chairwoman Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) said the bill does include some cost-cutting measures, as well as reporting and accountability measures for the two systems that make it a good investment.
“Now is the time to take a strong stand to reverse the trend of high tuition costs.”
Opponents also expressed the concern that the omnibus bill contained the so-called Dream Act. That language would enable students living in Minnesota illegally to get access to state financial aid as well as pay instate tuition.
Bonoff asked them not to reject the whole higher-ed bill just because it contained that one item. She said education is transformative, and that the bill’s benefits should be accessible to all.
“Anything we can do as a state to make sure each and every young person has the opportunity to transform in a moment — we owe it to our kids.”
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A while back I reported on college students’ efforts to get a “medical amnesty” law passed for the state. It would essentially protect underage drinkers from prosecution — under certain conditions — if they had to call authorities or 911 for help. It passed the House today by a huge margin, and is now going Read more →
Here’s a roundup of some of the main points in the legislation coming out of the state conference committee on higher education: Higher target. The legislation calls for $250 million more in spending — a bit more than the governor’s original proposal of $240 million, and much higher than the House’s target of $150 million. Read more →
When the first graduates of the University of Minnesota-Rochester receive their diplomas Saturday, they’ll leave a campus that’s still figuring things out. Instructors are still experimenting with the curriculum and how best to teach it. Students are still trying to build a social life and an identity within the city. And every once in a Read more →
Some University of Minnesota students are asking the U to give them access to their fellow students’ evaluations of courses and professors. The U administers the evaluations at the end of every semester. Students fill them out, but the information is kept by the university. Graduate student Cody Mikl, who chairs the group of student Read more →