ST. PAUL – Today, the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee discussed a proposal to establish a free college grant program created to cover full cost of state tuition and fees for Minnesota’s two-year colleges.

“Minnesota reaps the rewards when our students are able to pursue higher education without accumulating crushing debt,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Minneapolis), author of the bill. “By lending a helping hand to students at our state colleges, we’re better ensuring that regardless of income, any Minnesotan can earn a degree that can then be used to improve themselves and our state.”

Rep. Noor’s legislation would determine grant eligibility using a sliding scale based on the recipient’s reported family income. In the bill, 100 percent of the costs are covered if the family reports an adjusted gross income of less than $100,000 and 50 percent if the student reports a family adjusted gross income greater than $125,000 and less than or equal to $150,000.

“Minnesotans deserve every opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams, and the cost of college and skills training programs should not be a barrier to access,” said Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-New Brighton), chair of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee. “I am grateful for Rep. Noor’s collaboration. Our committee is committed to enacting solutions that ensures these opportunities are accessible to all students who want to pursue higher education in Minnesota.”

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion to a later higher education finance bill.