You’d think that Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students would be able to transfer college credits within the system without losing one in 10 of them.
You’d also think that, after a Legislative Auditor’s report quoted MnSCU administrators who said transferring credits within the system is still too hard, the Legislature could pass and Gov. Tim Pawlenty would quickly approve a bill requiring MnSCU to fix the issue.
You’d be wrong on both counts, and election-year politics just might be the reason why.
The Legislature did overwhelmingly pass HF 3164, from Rep. Larry Haws, DFL-St. Cloud. The House of Representatives voted 110-20 to approve it and the Senate voted unanimously to concur, sending the bill to Pawlenty.
The bill would have required MnSCU to revamp its credit transfer system within five years, with the goal of “minimal loss of credits for transferring students.”
Haws said MnSCU students are currently unable to transfer 10 percent of their credits when they move from one four-year MnSCU campus to another four-year MnSCU campus, according to the St. Cloud Times.
Students transferring from a two-year MnSCU campus to a four-year MnSCU campus lose an average of 30 percent of their credits, Haws said.
That’s tuition money wasted on classes that don’t end up counting toward a degree, and adds insult to the injury of double-digit percentage tuition increases during most of Pawlenty’s eight-year term.
But as the Times story notes, Pawlenty on Friday vetoed the bill, saying that it was “unnecessary” because MnSCU is working on it “through internal actions and policy changes.”
But good intentions don’t always lead to good results, as the bill’s Senate sponsor, Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, noted in the Times story.
Could there be a political angle to Pawlenty’s veto? Clark, running for the DFL nomination to take on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., this fall, could have used the bill in her campaign literature as proof she’s working to help students and their parents make college more affordable. Pawlenty just took that away from her.
Oh, and one of the 20 members of the House to vote against the bill in the first place? The man Republicans hope succeeds Pawlenty in the Governor’s mansion. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano.