The Senate Education Policy Committee passed a bill on Thursday that increases the reimbursement rate for PSEO transportation funding. The bill, introduced by Sen. Carla Nelson, raises the rate from 15 cents a mile to the Federal mileage reimbursement rate.

This would mark the first increase since it was put in place in 1985.

SF 2652 also changes the qualification for reimbursement from the current poverty level to the free and reduced lunch program. This will increase who is eligible for the reimbursement.

Testifiers spoke to the value of the PSEO program, highlighting its positive impact on graduation rates and the achievement gap. Research has shown that dual enrollment options helps low-income students, especially students of color.

One testifier spoke to the value of the reimbursement in rural Minnesota. With the lack of public transportation in rural areas of the state, this program is even more important.

There were questions about how much this change will cost. There was discussion about what the cost increase could be and how the money would be distributed.

The bill was passed to the Education Finance Committee and the fiscal impact will certainly be discussed there.