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GOP lawmaker introduces early-graduation bill

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — High school students could receive a $5,000 college scholarship for graduating a year early under a proposal a Republican House member says would save the state millions of dollars.

Rep. Pat Garofalo (Gah-RAH-fah-low) of Farmington says his bill gives students a $2,500 scholarship for graduating a semester early, and the amount could rise to $7,500 if a student graduates three semesters early.

Garofalo says the program would save the state money, because currently the state pays more in per-pupil funding for a high school junior or senior than a scholarship would cost.

The early graduation program would not replace the state’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Option program, which allows high school students to take college courses for credit at no cost.

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Garofalo expects about 3,000 students would take advantage of his program each year.

Rep. Mindy Greiling, a Roseville Democrat who oversees the House K-12 Education Finance Division, says Garofalo’s initiative would be a bad deal for students because they would pay more for college than if they enrolled in the state’s PSEO or College in the Schools program.

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