Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Governor signs higher education bill

Gov. Pawlenty signed the higher education policy bill yesterday. The bill is now Session Law 2010, Chapter 364 and can be found here.

As a reminder, below are some of the provisions included in the bill:

● Language that increases the age of a senior citizen in statute from 62 to 66 to receive a tuition discount.

● Requirement of colleges and universities to make a reasonable attempt to identify and purchase locally grown food.

● The system, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and representatives of industry groups and labor unions are to study program requirements for certificates and diplomas awarded by the system to determine the feasibility of designing technical education programs to allow students to have more opportunities to earn credentials with lower credit requirements that could be combined into higher level certificates or diplomas.

● Office of the Chancellor is required to streamline services provided through the office to reduce expenditures, better target the use of state resources and provide services at the most appropriate and efficient level so as not to duplicate any services provided at the institution level.

● Post-retirement health insurance premium reimbursement language.

● Board of Trustees is required to establish a pilot project to develop partnerships and training and employment opportunities for surgical technologists at institutions that offer a surgical technologist program.

● Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the University of Minnesota are required to study nanotechnology research and education and report to the Legislature on ways nanotechnology is used responsibly and safely.

● Pilot project language that would establish up to eight institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to invest some campus reserves in a local bank.

● The Office of Higher Education is required to monitor the implementation of the Higher Education Opportunity Act as it relates to disclosure of textbook pricing and other information to students.

● Credit transfer language that requires the Board of Trustees to develop and implement a plan to improve credit transfers within the system. The Board may convene working groups of affected faculty, staff, students and administrators in the system to work on issues and barriers to credit transfer. The language also states the Board must provide systemwide transfer information on campus Web sites necessary to determine the transferability of course credits, and the information must be easily accessible and kept current.

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