Friday, April 20, 2007

Higher ed-gasm at the House 

The Minnesota House passed a whopping higher education budget last night that adds $168 million or 14% to the MnSCU base budget. The bill includes the provision that would permit anyone with three years in a Minnesota high school to get the in-state tuition handout from taxpayers regardless of their citizenship or immigration status (the DREAM Act.) Rep. Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids tried to get DREAM pulled out of the bill but his amendment lost 61-71. Rep. Marty Seifert is quoted as saying that provision will draw the governor's veto.

A note from our union's lobbyist in St. Paul included this:
A bipartisan amendment by Representatives Mary Seifert (R-Marshall), Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona), Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead), and others, to cut $6 million per year out of the MnSCU central office and use the saving to buy down student tuition, passed by a vote of 97-35. All of the MnSCU legislators, except the Metro State area legislators, supported the move. Needless to say, MnSCU officials are not happy.
Tuition increases were capped in the bill at 2%. Subsidize middle-class children or MnSCU officials? Hmmm, tough call there.

The bill goes to committee now, and we'll see if DREAM and the tuition caps stay in.

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