The likelihood of state action to help college students remains uncertain, given the different proposals in play for need-based aid through the State Grant program. This uncertainly comes despite voter interest in keeping college affordable and the state’s sizable budget surplus.
At this point in the legislative process, both the House and Senate higher education committees have passed their bills out of committee. We can see their different approaches to higher education funding and the State Grant program in particular, in contrast to what Gov. Mark Dayton had proposed earlier in session. Here’s how the different plans for the next two-year budget stack up.
STATE GRANT FUNDING PROPOSALS – as of April
|New spending||$62 million||$26 million||$10 million|
|Share of new spending helping students at nonprofit colleges||20%||26%||1%|
|Average change in grants for students at nonprofits
||9%||3%||1% in 2017-18
Supporters of doing more to help college students are critical. In the weeks ahead we will be sharing suggestions for you to consider speaking up about the importance of doing the most to invest in helping increase need-based aid.
Meanwhile, Council staff members are in regular contact with legislative and administrative leaders at this stage, working to build their understanding of the benefits of investing in the program and supporting our students’ needs. And we continue to be joined by groups of students coming to the Capitol to meet with legislators in person — including on April 6, when 40 more students visited from Augsburg College, Bethel University, Hamline University and Macalester College.