ST. PAUL (AP) - The Legislature is focusing nearly $3 billion in higher education funding on keeping college costs as low as possible.

The House and Senate budget bills unveiled Monday would send more money to the state's grant program and give public colleges and universities millions of dollars dedicated to freezing tuition rates.

Rep. Gene Pelowski, chair of the House higher education committee, says it's critical to focus on overgrown tuition costs.

Both the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems asked for about $1.2 billion in funding for the next two years. The Senate's bill nearly meets that request. The House bill chops about $65 million from the university's request and about $12 million from MnSCU's.

The two bills are similar to Gov. Mark Dayton's own proposal.