NOVEMBER 2013 Legislative Update

November 2013

Bethany student writing letterPolicymakers stepped up and made a difference for college students last legislative session with financial aid. And we’re starting to see the results at public and private colleges around the state. More than 90,000 students from low- and middle-income families who receive a State Grant are benefiting from a 16% increase in the program’s funding. The changes include an important increase in the amount of tuition that is recognized in calculating awards through the State Grant program.

This wouldn’t have happened without the encouragement of college students and the parents and alumni who join them in supporting financial aid. Legislators and the governor heard from us hundreds of times, with e-mails coming from supporters and students coming in to meet with them. As for the results, read the details on the good news for financial aid that ran in our last newsletter.

This fall students are definitely thankful. At Bethany Lutheran College, for example, more than a dozen students wrote notes to legislators last week for making this investment in financial aid — and our state’s future.

November 2013

Tax reform and simplification at the federal level has an appealing ring to it. But in paring back how tax credits and deductions work, some legislators are proposing ideas that would harm many families. In fact, one bill in Congress, H.R. 3393, would so dramatically reduce the income threshold for eligibility for the American Opportunity Tax Credit that it would eliminate support for nearly 50% of current students and their families that benefit from the AOTC. Eliminating tax benefits for middle class students and families at a time when they need it the most would be a mistake. We’ll share more about this proposal in the next newsletter; if you have questions before then, let the Council staff know.

November 2013

As one college finance expert says, figuring out how to pay for college doesn’t have to be rocket science. But for many families, it can feel that way. A set of videos have been released to help Minnesota families better understand their options. The videos include ones focusing on families considering private nonprofit colleges, families where parents have not completed college degrees and separate ones in Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

The videos were developed jointly by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Private College Fund, working with TPT’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships. One of videos is airing as a program on public television stations statewide. The importance of student aid that comes from federal and state government is highlighted in the videos, as is aid that institutions provide.

Consider passing these resources on to parents of middle school and high school students who may be interested.

November 2013
  1. The net prices that families pay have remained relatively flat in recent years at Minnesota’s private nonprofit colleges. Read more
  2. Private nonprofit colleges are talent magnets: More first-year students from other states come to Minnesota’s private nonprofit colleges than come to the U of M or the four-year colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. Read more
  3. Grant aid to students at Minnesota’s private nonprofit colleges has doubled in the last 10 years; most of that aid is from the institutions themselves. Read more
November 2013

Two new 15-second videos are being used as online ads that sum up the key strengths and accessibility of private nonprofit colleges.