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S.F. No. 3671 - Higher Education Omnibus Bill (First Engrossment)
 
Author: Senator Michelle L. Fischbach
 
Prepared By: Priyanka Premo, Senate Counsel (651/296-3914)
Andrew J. Erickson, Senate Fiscal Analyst (651/296-4855)
 
Date: April 13, 2018



 

S.F. 3671 makes technical and policy changes to various higher education programs, makes appropriations, and requires reports.

Sec. 1. Appropriations. Specifies that the appropriations under sections 2 and 3 are made from the general fund and added to appropriations provided in 2017, unless otherwise specified.

Sec. 2. Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Makes appropriations to the Office of Higher Education for: (1) a projected deficit in the state grant program; (2) the agricultural educators loan forgiveness program; (3) student loan debt counseling; and (4) a grant to design a preparation program for special education teachers providing instruction to the blind or visually impaired.

Sec. 3. Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Makes an appropriation to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to be used for renewal of workforce development scholarships awarded during academic year 2018-2019. The workforce development scholarship program was established in 2017.

Sec. 4. Powers and duties; report. The Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership consists of major statewide educational groups and was created to maximize achievements of students from early childhood to postsecondary education. Under the P-20 Partnership’s direction, the OHE and the Department of Education are required to provide the public and policymakers with data and reports. Section 1 adds research related to early childhood development and investments in young children and their families to the reporting requirements (via data contained in the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System).

Sec. 5. Victim’s rights. Requires postsecondary institutions to notify sexual assault victims of campus or local programs providing information on legal resources. 

Sec. 6. Eligibility. Clarifies how applicants to the teacher candidate grant program may demonstrate their intent to teach in a shortage area.

Sec. 7. Administration; repayment. Eliminates a 2017 requirement that the commissioner of the OHE develop a repayment process for teacher candidate grant recipients who do not complete student teaching or who leave Minnesota in the first year of student teaching.

Sec. 8. Eligible student. Moves the definition of “eligible student” from section 136A.1701 and combines it with the existing “eligible student” in section 136A.15, the general definition section for student loan programs.

Sec. 9. Designation. Corrects a statutory cross-reference.

Sec. 10. Rules, policies, and conditions. Eliminates a compatibility requirement for a federal loan program.

Sec. 11-13. Student loan programs. Corrects statutory cross-references.

Sec. 14. Classification of data. Adds a statutory cross-reference to the student loan refinancing statute.

Sec. 15. Repayment of loans. Strikes repayment procedures provided for supplemental loans under section 136A.1701, inserts a cross-reference to OHE’s general rules and policies for student loan programs in section 136A.16.

Sec. 16. Student loan debt counseling. Establishes a permanent, statutory program administered by the OHE to provide a grant to an organization offering student loan debt counseling. This program is similar to a 2015 pilot program grant provided to Lutheran Social Services.

Subdivision 1. Grant. Permits an organization receiving a grant to offer counseling to those capable of being served with available appropriations. Sets a goal that a grantee provide at least two counseling sessions to 75 percent of borrowers receiving counseling. Establishes that the purpose of the counseling is to enable borrowers to understand their loan and repayment options, manage loan repayments, and develop a workable budget.

Subd. 2. Qualified debt counseling organization. Defines a qualified debt counseling organization as one that has experience in student loan counseling, employs certified financial loan counselors, and is based in Minnesota and has offices in multiple rural and metropolitan locations.

Subd. 3. Grant application and award. Requires that applications be made in a form and manner specified by the commissioner. Describes the components that must be included on the application. Requires the commissioner to select one grant recipient every two years. The grant recipient would receive funding for both years of the biennium.

Subd. 4. Program evaluation. Requires a grant recipient to submit a report to the commissioner every two years. Specifies data elements to be included in the report.

Subd. 5. Report to legislature. Requires the commissioner to submit a report on the program to the higher education committees of the legislature every two years.

Sec. 17 & 33. Creation of account. Specifies that the aviation loan forgiveness program account is established in the special revenue fund and makes conforming changes to a prior appropriation.

Sec. 18 & 30. Account established. Specifies that the teacher shortage loan forgiveness account is established in the special revenue fund and makes conforming changes to a prior appropriation.

Sec. 19 & 31. Establishment; administration. Establishes the large animal veterinarian loan forgiveness program in the special revenue fund and requires OHE to use the account money to establish and administer the program. Any appropriations to OHE for this program are for transfer to the fund. Makes conforming changes to a prior appropriation.

Sec. 20. Schools to provide information. 2017 legislation established a student complaint process for private and out of state public postsecondary institutions. This section requires schools, during registration, to provide to the OHE the school’s disclosure to students regarding the student complaint process.

Sec. 21. Additional security. In the Minnesota Private and Out of State Public Postsecondary Education Act, adds a specific calculation for the surety bond amount required for new schools with conditional approval (not < $10,000 and at least 10% of the school’s net revenue from tuition and fees in the prior fiscal year). Provides, for failing registered institutions, that if the letter of credit required by the U.S. Department of Education is greater than 10% of federal financial aid funds the institution received in the most recently completed fiscal year, then OHE will reduce the surety requirement to 10% of federal financial aid funds the institution received in the most recently completed fiscal year, as long as it is at least $10,000 but not more than $250,000.

Sec. 22. Disclosure. Requires private and out-of-state public postsecondary schools to disclose to students the 2017 student complaint process.

Sec. 23. Bond. Corrects technical accounting terminology.

Sec. 24. Catalog, brochure, or electronic display. 2017 legislation established a student complaint process for private career schools. Section 15 requires private career schools, during their licensure, to provide to OHE the school’s disclosure to students regarding the student complaint process.

Sec. 25. Disclosure. Requires private career schools to disclose to students the 2017 student complaint process.

Sec. 26 & 28. Spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury research grant program. Establishes an account in the special revenue fund for the spinal cord and traumatic brain injury grant program. OHE must use the account money to administer the grant program. Appropriations to OHE for the program are for transfer to the fund, do not cancel, and are available until expended. Makes changes to a prior appropriation.

Sec. 27. MnSCU two-year public college program. The MnSCU College Occupational Scholarship Pilot Program was established in 2016 for the academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. This section reduces the appropriation made for the program in 2017 by $1,000,000 to capture funds that are unused and unencumbered by the program. This section is effective June 30, 2018.

Sec. 29. Emergency assistance for postsecondary students. Makes a technical change to clarify that the program is limited to Minnesota schools.

Sec. 32. Agricultural educators loan forgiveness. Clarifies a transfer made to the agricultural educators loan forgiveness account in the special revenue fund in a prior appropriation.

Sec. 34. Transfers. Confers upon the commissioner of OHE the authority to transfer unencumbered balances from 2017 appropriations for: (1) interventions for college attendance program grants; (2) the summer academic enrichment program; and (3) student-parent information.

Sec. 35. Affordable textbook plan and report. Requires Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to develop a plan to increase the use of affordable textbooks and instructional materials and to explore registration software to disclose the cost of textbooks and materials prior to or during course registration. The plan must establish a goal for the percentage of all courses offering affordable materials. The plan and a report providing data on affordable course materials are due to the legislature by January 15, 2020

Sec. 36. Teacher preparation program design grant. Requires OHE to provide a grant to a higher education institution to explore, design, and plan a teacher preparation program for special education teachers instructing blind and visually impaired students. OHE may develop guidelines and an application process and may use up to two percent of the appropriation for administrative costs. The grant recipient must submit a report describing the plan and any potential ongoing costs to the legislature by January 15, 2020.

Sec. 37. Repealer. Technical change repealing certain definitions relating to student loan programs.

 
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