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Farmington lawmaker proposes scholarships up to $7,500 for students

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, wants to give Minnesota high school students scholarships for graduating early. Staff photo by Don Davis

Minnesota high school students could get scholarships of up to $7,500 if they graduate early under a proposal pushed by Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington and other Republican lawmakers.

Garofalo said that his proposal would save nearly $25 million in the next two years because fewer high school students would be in schools.

"The earlier a student graduates, the more the scholarship would be," Garofalo said.

His idea is to provide scholarships starting at $2,500 for students who graduate one semester early.

He expected more than 3,000 students to take advantage of the program, if it passes. However, the House education finance chairwoman threw cold water on the proposal.

"This proposal is actually a bad deal for kids because they'd end up paying more for college than if they took full advantage of PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Options) and College in the Schools programs that already exist," said Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville. "And since the financial incentives for students are questionable, the cost savings to the state are uncertain."