College students and their supporters received good news in January when Gov. Mark Dayton proposed an increase in state funding for the State Grant program of $62 million — or 17 percent — in his budget recommendations. A total of $74 million would be available under his budget proposal to expand the size and reach of the program’s awards, when a $12 million unexpended balance is added as well. State Grant awards help more than 1 out of 4 Minnesota students who stay in the state to earn associate and bachelor’s degrees. The awards are made based on need; recipients attend both public and private nonprofit colleges. Increasing funding for the program is the best way Minnesota can target investments in higher ed to the students who most need additional support to succeed.
With the 2017 legislative session underway, the next step is to see how the Republican-led Legislature chooses to prioritize the State Grant program.
Two specific requests for improving the State Grant program have been released by the Minnesota Private College Council:
- Make new investments in the Minnesota State Grant program a top priority by investing at least one-third of new higher education funding directly in students through the State Grant program.
- Use new investments in the State Grant program to increase awards for students by adjusting the formula used to set the awards to reduce the share that students and families are expected to pay.
Learn more about the Council’s agenda.