University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler addressed University community members in the fourth annual State of the University speech Thursday.
When Laura d’Almeida emigrated from Togo in West Africa to Minnesota in 2010, she wanted to go to college. But she said the difficult process of applying and preparing for post-secondary education left her feeling confused. D’Almeida, now a freshman at the University of Minnesota, said she sought help from College Possible, a program that helps low-income college and high school students navigate their way through post-secondary education.
The 2015 legislative session reached its halfway mark last week. Bills that propose policy changes needed to be approved by committees in both the Senate and the House on or before Friday. After legislators reconvene from their spring break on April 7, they’ll focus on pieces of legislation that appropriate state dollars, including bills for transportation and higher education that are known as omnibus bills. Major bills of this sort must be acted on before April 24 in order to move forward in the legislative process.
The University of Minnesota’s first nurse-led clinic will open in less than two weeks, following a new law that allows nurse practitioners to work independently from physicians. Besides providing patient care, the Nurse Practitioners Clinic will act as a training ground for students when it opens on April 6. The health care facility is operated by the School of Nursing, and school leaders say it will help fill health professional shortages statewide, while also giving short-term treatment.
State lawmakers want to lend additional support to Somali youth in Minnesota who may be at risk of gang violence, drug abuse and radicalization. A bill introduced this session would appropriate state money to Ka Joog, a nonprofit that focuses on reducing adverse experiences and increasing educational opportunities for Somali youth.
State legislators want to realign hemp laws in Minnesota with a recent federal change that helps researchers study the plant. The Minnesota Industrial Hemp Development Act introduced last month would redefine ‘hemp’ based on drug content and authorize a pilot program for the growth, cultivation and research of the crop.
State lawmakers are looking to address a lack of diversity among Minnesota teachers. Recently introduced legislation would establish a grant program for organizations that aim to diversify the teaching population through alternative licensing pathways. It could also strengthen the University of Minnesota’s partnership with Teach for America. In the 2013-2014 school year, about 94 percent of newly licensed teachers in Minnesota were white, according to the state Department of Education.
An upcoming Minnesota Supreme Court decision that could tighten the public’s access to child maltreatment documents has raised concern among child welfare advocates and University of Minnesota researchers. Before July, the state court could rule to restrict the access of social work documents and records of child mistreatment, which are currently available to the public upon request. The potential changes address privacy issues, but some advocates and researchers say it could limit their work.
Considering the state’s nearly $2 billion surplus in the upcoming biennium, Gov. Mark Dayton plans to cover the entire cost of the University of Minnesota’s request to expand its tuition freeze with state dollars.
Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he plans to fully fund the University of Minnesota’s proposed tuition freeze for resident students after an updated economic forecast projected a nearly $2 billion budget surplus. “The tuition freezes have been very important for both the University and the MnSCU program for the last two years,” Dayton said at a press conference Friday. “The ability to continue them for the next two years is a significant incentive for me to be willing to take a leap of faith with them.”
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