One key improvement was funding. Within the overall higher education bill, the $177 million per-year State Grant program received $7 million of new funds for the next two years. Critically important was lawmakers’ decision to reinvest the program’s current $74 million surplus in the State Grant program, something that was in doubt earlier the session. (You may recall that an earlier update to AMSA members had flagged this worry and action alerts had asked for help with making the point that the program surplus should be preserved for State Grant awards.)
Policy improvements were made as well — along the lines of what AMSA members heard about and helped advocate for earlier in the session. The bill expands the reach and the impact of the State Grant program by improving how awards are calculated. The awards will now cover more of a student’s tuition and fees at both the University of Minnesota and private nonprofit colleges, by raising the cap on the amount of tuition that is recognized in the award formula. In addition, all college students receiving the awards will be helped by a change that increases how much is awarded in recognition of their living expenses.