LeadMN President Testifies on Faculty Counselor Legislation

Today in the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee LeadMN President, Axel Kylander, testified in support of HF4220, legislation that would require and fund a faculty counselor for every 750 students at each campus. Axel shared his story on mental health and how the faculty counselor at his college supported him.

“Being one counselor for over a thousand students, we weren’t able to meet every week, or do the kind of long-term work that would prove to be what I needed for a lasting recovery. But when I wasn’t ready or able to access long-term treatment, my school’s faculty counselor was able to help me with the kind of crisis intervention and short term support I needed to get through my worst lows.”

Senator Smith Introduces Emergency Grant Legislation

This past Thursday Senator Tina Smith introduced The Emergency Grant Aid for College Students Act. This legislation would create a permanent federal grant program to provide colleges with emergency aid for students. Emergency aid provided to students through the various covid relief packages passed by Congress during the pandemic have had an outsized impact on supporting students during times of crisis. A permanent emergency grant program, like the legislation introduced by Senator Smith, would help ensure that students continue to receive emergency support after the pandemic has ended.

This past week LeadMN students travelled to Washington D.C. and met with Congressional offices to advocate for the creation of such a program. Click here to read more!

LeadMN Comments on Revised HEERF Quarterly Report Form

On Monday, LeadMN submitted comments to the Department of Education on proposed changes to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Quarterly Report form. LeadMN advocated for additional reporting categories to better capture institutional expenditure of HEERF funds on student supports that address food insecurity, housing insecurity and homelessness, transportation, childcare, and mental health. By collecting this information, along with other changes proposed on the updated form, the Department of Education and others could gain a better understanding of if institutions are prioritizing strategies that will help retain students.

View LeadMN’s comments here.

Minnesota State Receives $6.5 million From FY2022 Appropriations Bill

As part of the FY2022 Appropriations Bill passed last week, Minnesota State colleges will receive nearly $6.5 million in funding for six projects across the state.

  • Minnesota State College Southeast, Red Wing, MN for facilities and equipment to create a simulated hospital wing. ($825,000).
  • Minnesota State Northern Agricultural Center of Excellence, Staples, MN for meat cutting and butchery program, including the purchase of equipment ($2 million).
  • South Central College and Minnesota State College Southeast, MN, to expand access to high-quality training for rural manufacturing, including the purchase of equipment ($2,060,000).
  • Alexandria Technical & Community College, MN, for the Global Military Learning Network project ($1,090,000).
  • Saint Paul College, MN, for the Four Directions Pathways Program ($500,000).

Click here to read more about the projects in Minnesota States Federal Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriation Requests.

National Campus Climate Survey

Another provision included in the FY2022 Appropriations Bill will require the Department of Education to develop an online campus climate survey to collect information on students’ experiences with sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and whether students feel comfortable coming forward when an incident occurs. Colleges who receive federal financial aid will be required to provide the survey to students every two years.

Click here to read more.