This section provides information on the status of budget and policy recommendations under consideration or acted on by the Minnesota Legislature.
According to Chapter 136A in the Minnesota Statutes 2011, the Office of Higher Education is responsible for:
- The administration of financial aid programs at the state level, including accounting, auditing, and disbursing state and federal financial aid funds, and reporting on financial aid programs to the governor and the legislature;
- Approval, registration, licensing and financial aid eligibility of private collegiate and career schools;
- Negotiating and administering tuition reciprocity agreements;
- Publishing and distributing financial aid information and materials, and other information and materials to students and parents;
- Collecting and maintaining student enrollment and financial aid data and reporting data on students and postsecondary institutions to develop and implement a process to measure and report on the effectiveness of postsecondary institutions;
- Administering the federal programs that affect students and institutions on a statewide basis
- Prescribing policies, procedures, and rules necessary to administer the programs under its supervision
Office of Higher Education's Statutory Functions
- Administration of, and reporting on, financial aid programs - the Office of Higher Education awards over $172 million each year in need-based grants, about $85 million in state loans, and $14 million in State Work-Study funds.
- Approval, registration, and licensure of private collegiate and career schools - the Office of Higher Education administers two consumer protection statutes: one licenses about 125 private career schools that do not award degrees, the second registers and/or approves degrees for 130 private or out-of-state public postsecondary institutions.
- Negotiation and administration of interstate tuition reciprocity programs - Minnesota has interstate reciprocity agreements with Wisconsin, South Dakota, and North Dakota, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. More than 42,000 students take advantage of these agreements each year.
- Library Services - The Office of Higher Education oversees two statewide library programs that are funded through legislative appropriations to the agency. The MINITEX Library Information Network is a publicly supported network of academic, public, state government, and special libraries working cooperatively to improve library services for their users. MnLINK is a statewide, virtual library that electronically links major Minnesota libraries.
- Collection and Maintenance of Data - the Office of Higher Education is responsible for collecting and maintaining data on enrollments and financial aid. These data, including both public and private postsecondary education, are used to inform policymakers and the higher education community about trends and issues.
- Student Parent Information - the Office of Higher Education provides students and parents with information about academic and financial preparation, including financial aid and post-high school education. the Office of Higher Education accomplishes this through publications, videos, this web site, and outreach to communities of color and to low income families.
- Administration of Federal Programs - the Office of Higher Education administers federal programs that affect students, parents, K-12 educators and institutions on a statewide basis. These include the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program, the College Access Challenge Grant program, and the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).
How do these mandates fit with the Office of Higher Education's Mission?
- The Office of Higher Education works to achieve student financial access to postsecondary education. the Office of Higher Education administers and reports on financial aid programs, awarding over $172 million each year in need-based state grants, $85 million state loans, and $14 million in state work study funds. It administers The Minnesota College Savings Plan.
- The Office of Higher Education works to enable students to choose among postsecondary options. the Office of Higher Education administers tuition reciprocity programs with Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Manitoba.
- The Office of Higher Education works to protect and inform educational consumers. the Office of Higher Education approves the registration and licensure of private collegiate and career schools according to two consumer protection statutes, licensing over 125 private career schools, and registering and/or approving degrees for over 130 private or out-of-state public postsecondary institutions.
- The Office of Higher Education works to produce independent, statewide information on postsecondary education. the Office of Higher Education provides students and parents with information about preparation for post-high school education through publications and this web site. Information is also provided through outreach to low-income and first-generation college student families. the Office of Higher Education collects and reports on enrollment and financial aid data used to inform policymakers and the higher education community about trends and issues.