House and Senate choose different paths on higher ed

In mid-April legislators in the House and Senate higher education committees passed spending and policy bills, with votes expected by the full House and Senate this week. At this point it is clear that the two bodies have chosen very different paths on what to do and how to pay for it. The Senate has stepped up and included policy and funding changes that expand support for college students who receive State Grant awards, which target aid to those with need. The House, unfortunately, would cut State Grant funds, reallocating this money to other areas.

Once passed by the House and Senate, the next step in the process will be a conference committee that will meet in May. So stay tuned until then, to hear how that small group of legislators will resolve the differences in the two chamber’s approaches to addressing higher education.

Here are some details about how the approaches to the State Grant program vary in these bills, alongside Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposals as well.

  Senate
(Senate File 5)
Gov. Dayton House
(House File 845)
Protecting current State Grant program balance Yes Yes No (removing $53 million)
Increasing State Grant funding in next biennium Yes (by $19 million) Yes (by $45 million) No
Raising the cap that limits recognized tuition in State Grant awards Yes (by $626) Yes (by $626) No
Raising the allowance for living/miscellaneous expenses in State Grant awards
Yes (by $338) Yes (by $338) No