Minnesota lawmakers are looking to provide assistance to student loan borrowers who are at risk of defaulting. The bills introduced at the Legislature this month would create a student loan debt counseling program. If the measures pass, the state will select a nonprofit to provide financial information and help Minnesota borrowers who are 30 to 60 days late on paying back student loans.
State lawmakers are looking to reform sexual assault policies at colleges and universities across Minnesota this year. Rep. Marion O’Neill, R-Maple Lake, introduced legislation earlier this month that would broaden current policy to include more protection for victims and establish an agreement with local law enforcement on how to investigate these types of crimes.
While Minnesota faces a $12 billion shortfall for transportation funding, state lawmakers and University of Minnesota researchers are debating sustainable solutions to fund transit needs. But recently introduced legislation would prohibit the University and other institutions from using state funds to research and study mileage-based user fees, generating concern among some lawmakers and University faculty members.
From the state Legislature to the University of Minnesota, measures to increase the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees awarded have received increased attention in recent years because of demands in those areas. Legislation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate has surfaced this session, as well as a 2014 legislative performance standard related to the number of degrees awarded at the school, signify the need to fill STEM-related positions in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s aging population is putting pressure on researchers of Alzheimer’s disease, which some lawmakers say highlights the need for more sources of funding for the studies. State legislators recently introduced bills that would establish a grant program to help fund research on Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. University of Minnesota researchers say the proposed source of funding could potentially benefit their studies, which they say are crucial because of population trends.
University of Minnesota officials may have their work cut out for them at the Capitol this legislative session. The school is requesting $127.2 million in state funding over the next biennium, which includes the cost of a tuition freeze for resident students. But Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal, which was announced on Tuesday, only includes about one-fourth of the school’s request.
As the legislative session moves forward, the Capitol is becoming a popular hangout spot for some University of Minnesota students. Students for Education Reform, a campus student group, is lobbying for education reform at this legislative session, tackling issues like the achievement gap and remedial courses in the process.
Amending laws, policymaking and attending committee meetings aren’t included in the typical schedule of a University of Minnesota senior. Unless you’re Drew Christensen. The Republican from Burnsville, Minn., began his first term in the state’s House of Representatives this month with hopes of bringing a fresh perspective to the Capitol as the Legislature’s youngest member.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said lawmakers shouldn’t overlook four-year degree programs in response to a recently proposed bill that would offer some students two years of free community or technical college. DFL legislators in the Minnesota Senate proposed the bill last week, however Kaler said at a press conference Tuesday that there will always be a need for professionals in four-year degree fields, including dentistry and other health care professionals.
Lawmakers and University of Minnesota experts are eyeing criminal policy reform at the state and federal level. Minnesota has made recent changes to its criminal correction and punishment policy, but advocates and lawmakers hope to see more next legislative session, and the conversation has reached the University.
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