Committee rejects ban on grants for for-profit schools

The Senate Higher Education Budget Division decided Thursday not to include a bill prohibiting grant money to go to students attending private, for-profit schools.

by Libby George

Grant-receiving students attending private, for-profit schools in Minnesota got a reprieve from the Senate Higher Education Budget Division on Thursday afternoon.

A bill prohibiting grant money from going to students attending these schools – which include mainly two-year technical and professional schools – was rejected for inclusion in the division’s final recommendations bill.

A similar House bill was presented before the Higher Education Finance Committee on Wednesday, but the committee declined to vote.

Capital Investment Committee takes up MnSCU bonding

In other business, the division approved and recommended to the Capital Investment Committee a bill allotting $45 million in emergency bonding to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The bill to repair leaky roofs and make buildings handicap-accessible is legislative business as usual that the committee will likely approve, division staff said.

No decision on HESO bill

The Higher Education Budget Division also debated a bill that makes technical changes to the Higher Education Services Office.

Most of the provisions are “housekeeping,” involving tax changes and rewording.

However, a provision would allow HESO to establish an award cutoff deadline and eliminate summer grant payments in case of a monetary shortfall.

This year, HESO’s failure to estimate demand for state grant awards caused a $16 million shortfall and led HESO to end work-study grants and significantly cut back state child care grants.

Staff members were unsure of when the division would approve its final recommendation bill, but the finance committee must approve all bills for this session by April 29.