Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Gene Pelowski, Jr. (DFL)

Back to profile

Minnesota House approves Higher Education Policy Bill

Thursday, April 4, 2024

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the House Higher Education Committee’s package of policy proposals, House File 4024. The bill, which is a focused effort to build off the landmark investments included in the 2023 Higher Education Budget, passed on a bipartisan vote of 100-32.

“This session, the primary focus of the Higher Education Committee has been to ensure the full implementation of the investments we made last year, focusing on policies that equip the Office of Higher Education, Minnesota State, and the University of Minnesota with the tools they need,” said Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL - Winona), Chair of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee. “We’re also putting forward policies that support our students, make our campuses safer, and train the workforce of tomorrow.” 

Last year’s Higher Education Budget saw a $4 billion investment in the state’s institutions of higher learning, with much of the funding aimed at correcting the declining enrollment seen across Minnesota’s colleges and universities. Since the passage of the budget, which included a tuition freeze at Minnesota State and free college to students with household income under $80,000, enrollment across the Minnesota State system is up for the first time in over a decade. The policies proposed in HF 4024 would make these investments even more effective. 

A highlight of the bill expands the state’s workforce development scholarships. In 2017, the Legislature established a state workforce development scholarship program that has provided funding for hundreds of $2,500 scholarships. In order to build the clean energy workforce of the future, the legislation adds the energy sector to the list of the program’s applicable, high-demand fields. 

Other policy updates center on changes to funding capital projects for postsecondary schools, regulations on third-party companies that run online academic programs, updates to state laws assisting students with disabilities, and a series of reforms around how public colleges and universities handle sexual harassment and violence. 

More information on the House Higher Education Committee’s policy proposals can be found via the bill’s research brief. Video of today’s floor debate can be found on the House Public Information YouTube channel