Long lists of bills are filling committee agendas, an indicator the first legislative deadline is just three weeks away. The February budget forecast is scheduled to be released next week, the final marker before legislative leaders determine targets for the state's biennial budget.
The House Higher Education and Career Readiness heard five bills in committee today which were all laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill.
HF1369 introduced by Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) would provide $500,000 over the biennium to College Possible to support support programs of college admission and college graduation for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support at both the high school and post-secondary level.
HF1206 introduced by Rep. Tony Albright (R-Prior Lake) amends the Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council and would provide grant funding for spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury research in addition to providing grants to support research scholarships and education program.
HF1189 introduced by Rep. Brian Daniels (R-Faribault) would establish a loan forgiveness program for those veterinarian students who specialize in providing care to large animals.
HF1142 was introduced by Rep. Drew Christensen (R-Savage). The author introduced an amendment that would require Minnesota State to develop and implement a comprehensive tiered framework of supplemental instruction and developmental education based on student academic readiness. The tiered approach must emphasize supplemental instruction and the placement of students in credit-bearing courses and minimize the placement of students in developmental education. In addition to a report on these activities, the Office of Higher Education must report on its website the number and percentage of students from each high schools who placed into supplemental or developmental education; the number and percentage of students from each high school who complete said programs within one academic year and time to complete a degree or certificate. Reporting must be by school district and include student data by race, ethnicity, free or reduced lunch eligibility, and age.
System Director of P-20 and College Readiness, Pakou Yang, and North Hennepin Community College developmental education faculty member, Shirley Johnson shared with the committee their concerns on a "one-size" fits all approach and that faculty and campuses have worked to develop approaches based on sound research that fit their students and their communities.
HF1067, sponsored by Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-New Brighton), would create a training program by Minnesota State to provide high school teachers with the postgraduate credits necessary to teach concurrent enrollment courses to meet the teaching qualifications laid out by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Scholarships and grants would provide eligible teachers up to 18 credits in applicable post-secondary subject areas at a reduced price. Course offerings would be practicable for teachers carrying a full work load during the school year. Eligibility would be reserved for high school teachers who need additional graduate credits to qualify to teach courses for post-secondary credit. One-time appropriations in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 would fund the program. No fiscal note was provided; however, Bernardy projected a request of $3 million to $4 million annually.