A child care grant program is established under the supervision of the office. The program makes money available to eligible students to reduce the costs of child care while attending an eligible postsecondary institution. The office shall develop policies and adopt rules as necessary to implement and administer the program.
(a) An applicant is eligible for a child care grant if the applicant:
(1) is a resident of the state of Minnesota or the applicant's spouse is a resident of the state of Minnesota;
(2) has a child 12 years of age or younger, or 14 years of age or younger who is disabled as defined in section 125A.02, and who is receiving or will receive care on a regular basis from a licensed or legal, nonlicensed caregiver;
(3) is income eligible as determined by the office's policies and rules, but is not a recipient of assistance from the Minnesota family investment program;
(4) either has not earned a baccalaureate degree and has been enrolled full time less than ten semesters or the equivalent, or has earned a baccalaureate degree and has been enrolled full time less than ten semesters or the equivalent in a graduate or professional degree program;
(5) is pursuing a nonsectarian program or course of study that applies to an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree, diploma, or certificate;
(6) is enrolled in at least six credits in an undergraduate program or one credit in a graduate or professional program in an eligible institution; and
(7) is in good academic standing and making satisfactory academic progress.
(b) A student who withdraws from enrollment for active military service after December 31, 2002, because the student was ordered to active military service as defined in section 190.05, subdivision 5b or 5c, or for a major illness, while under the care of a medical professional, that substantially limits the student's ability to complete the term is entitled to an additional semester or the equivalent of grant eligibility and will be considered to be in continuing enrollment status upon return.
A Minnesota public postsecondary institution, a Minnesota private, baccalaureate degree granting college or university, or a Minnesota nonprofit two-year vocational technical school granting associate degrees is eligible to receive child care funds from the office and disburse them to eligible students.
(a) The amount of a child care grant must be based on:
(1) the income of the applicant and the applicant's spouse;
(2) the number in the applicant's family, as defined by the office; and
(3) the number of eligible children in the applicant's family.
(b) The maximum award to the applicant shall be $3,000 for each eligible child per academic year, except that the campus financial aid officer may apply to the office for approval to increase grants by up to ten percent to compensate for higher market charges for infant care in a community. The office shall develop policies to determine community market costs and review institutional requests for compensatory grant increases to ensure need and equal treatment. The office shall prepare a chart to show the amount of a grant that will be awarded per child based on the factors in this subdivision. The chart shall include a range of income and family size.
(c) Applicants with family incomes at or below a percentage of the federal poverty level, as determined by the commissioner, will qualify for the maximum award. The commissioner shall attempt to set the percentage at a level estimated to fully expend the available appropriation for child care grants. Applicants with family incomes exceeding that threshold will receive the maximum award minus ten percent of their income exceeding that threshold. If the result is less than zero, the grant is zero.
(d) The academic year award amount must be disbursed by academic term using the following formula:
(1) the academic year amount described in paragraph (b);
(2) divided by the number of terms in the academic year;
(3) divided by 15 for undergraduate students and six for graduate and professional students; and
(4) multiplied by the number of credits for which the student is enrolled that academic term, up to 15 credits for undergraduate students and six for graduate and professional students.
(e) Payments shall be made each academic term to the student or to the child care provider, as determined by the institution. Institutions may make payments more than once within the academic term.
Child care providers may not charge students receiving grants under this section a rate that is higher than the rate charged to private paying clients.
An additional term of child care grant may be awarded to an applicant attending classes outside of the regular academic year who meets the requirements in subdivisions 2 and 4. The annual maximum grant per eligible child must not exceed the calculated annual amount in subdivision 4, plus the additional amount in this subdivision, or the student's estimated annual child care cost for not more than 40 hours per week per eligible child, whichever is less.
Any unexpended appropriation in the child care grant program in the first year of a biennium shall be used to augment the maximum award in subdivision 4 in the second year of the biennium.
The office shall base yearly allocations on the need for funds using relevant factors as determined by the office in consultation with the institutions. Up to five percent of the money spent on students' child care awards, as determined by the office, may be used for an institution's administrative expenses related to the child care grant program. Any money designated, but not used, for this purpose must be reallocated to child care grants. An institution may carry forward or backward ten percent of its annual allocation to be used for awards in the previous or subsequent academic year.
The office shall establish procedures to (1) continually monitor the use of funds throughout the year; (2) identify areas of unmet need for grants; and (3) redistribute available funds in a timely manner to meet the needs of eligible recipients.
The office shall develop and provide information about the program to eligible postsecondary institutions, human service agencies, and potential applicants.
Institutions must submit reports, when requested by the office, on program activity including the number of students served, the child care costs, and the number of students on a waiting list for available funds. The reports must also include the institution's method of prioritizing applicants if insufficient funds are available.
1989 c 293 s 28; 1991 c 356 art 8 s 9-13; 1994 c 532 art 2 s 6-9; 1994 c 647 art 8 s 26; 1995 c 212 art 3 s 27,28,59; 1997 c 85 art 4 s 4; 1997 c 183 art 2 s 6; 1998 c 397 art 11 s 3; 1999 c 159 s 25; 1999 c 214 art 2 s 7; 2000 c 489 art 11 s 4; 1Sp2001 c 1 art 2 s 13,14; 2003 c 133 art 2 s 14,15; 2005 c 56 s 1; 2005 c 107 art 2 s 23,24,60; 2007 c 144 art 2 s 21,22; 2013 c 99 art 2 s 8,9; 2014 c 149 s 16,17; 2015 c 69 art 2 s 7-9; 2016 c 189 art 1 s 11,12; 2017 c 89 art 2 s 9,10