Governor Dayton’s FY 2018-19 budget: Increased spending includes early ed, student formula, and narrowing achievement gap

Clark Biegler
Mar 06, 2017

Note: This blog is part of a series on Governor Mark Dayton’s FY 2018-19 budget proposal, including his HHS budget, his economic development and transportation proposals, and his tax priorities.

An educated Minnesota is critical for the state’s economic success. Minnesota has long made education a priority, but significant achievement gaps between white students and students of color remain. Governor Mark Dayton’s FY 2018-19 budget proposal includes provisions that benefit students across the state, as well as more targeted funding intended to narrow the achievement gap. Overall, Dayton’s budget proposes $927 million in additional general fund resources for E-12 and higher education.

E-12 Education: Dayton proposes increasing funding for school districts through 2.0 percent increases in the basic student formula in both FY 2018 and FY 2019. That’s an increase of $121 and $124 per student in those years.

Early Education: Dayton proposes spending an additional $75 million in FY 2018-19 for voluntary pre-kindergarten, increasing the maximum number of participating students from 3,300 this year to 8,300 in 2018. He also proposes to continue current levels of spending on early learning scholarships, and expand eligibility to include children ages 0 to 5.

Higher Education: The governor proposes $62 million in improvements to financial aid through the State Grant Program by:

  • Allowing the grant to “fill in” for federal financial aid. Minnesota Dreamers, young people who came to the country as children and do not have legal status, are ineligible to receive federal Pell Grants. However, the State Grant formula currently calculates financial aid assuming students receive this federal grant, meaning that Dreamers receive much less aid than they need to afford college. The proposal would increase the grant award for these students.
  • Increasing the annual living allowance by $550 to better assist students in meeting their basic needs.
  • Reducing the family contribution by $500 to make college more affordable for lower-income families.

The governor also proposes $125 million to Minnesota State colleges and universities and $68 million to the University of Minnesota for operating costs, urging both university systems to use this to “fund activities that address the educational attainment gap.”

-Clark Biegler