Two Minnesota House DFLers made proposals Monday that would use some of the state surplus to help families struggling with the cost of college.

 

“At a time when we have a projected $1.2 billion surplus, the price of a college education should not be increasing,” Rep. Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park said in a statement.

 

Hortman is authoring a bill that would appropriate $42 million to reduce tuition for students at four-year state universities, after a University of Minnesota request to freeze tuition at 2014-2015 levels failed to receive full funding last year. She’s also proposing to appropriate more money for a program that would allow students with lower credit scores to refinance their college loans.

 

Additionally, Hortman would give more grant money to students with family responsibilities, increasing their living and miscellaneous expense allowances for the 2017 fiscal year from $8,900 to $9,000.

 

Rep. Jon Applebaum, of Minnetonka, is authoring a proposal to give a refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 for students making annual loan payments up to that amount. The credit would phase out for single people making $65,000 a year and married couples filing jointly who make $130,000 or more.

 

“With massive, lingering debt, Minnesotans are forced to delay starting families and buying homes … this prevents our state’s economy from growing to its full potential,” Applebaum said in a statement. 

 

The proposals, coming weeks before the Legislature convenes, would need approval from the Republicans who control the House to advance.