By Phoua Kong
Saint Paul College
For those students who are paying over a hundred dollars for an unlimited transit pass for the semester, how would you like to be paying less? This is what the Metropolitan Consortium of Higher Education of Students would help do: work to reduce the rate for students and increase ridership, creating a culture that values public transportation.
Saint Paul College students are charged $175 per semester per bus card. Anoka-Ramsey Community College students pay $140 per semester per bus card. Normandale Community College students are charged $105 for this same card.
With the inconsistency, not forgetting to mention the high costs that students already have to pay to attain a higher education degree in Minnesota, Christopher Nguyen, Student Senate President at Metropolitan State University and a board member of the Minnesota State University Student Association took the initiative to address these concerns with the proposal of establishing the Metropolitan Consortium of Higher Education of Students program, in which all stakeholders will have a role to play. In order to develop the program, a workgroup is being established. This workgroup will conduct a feasibility study of this program. To add, the program will not only reduce rates for students, but increase ridership and also create a culture that values public transportation. MSCSA has appointed Anoka Technical Colleges student Jim Bohler and Saint Paul College’s Student Senate Parliamentarian, Julie Iverson to sit on this workgroup.
Students at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, who pays $96 per semester for a bus card, are concerned that they will see an increase in cost as consistency in pricing is standardized across the board for students. However, as indicated in discussions, this is an option left up to campuses to decide if they want to participate in the program.
Since the workgroup is in its preliminary stages, there are unanswered questions, but let us not give up hope that students can start and run a program to save money as it is what MSCSA actually does–advocate for an affordable and accessible higher education. As the workgroup starts, may we continue to get more information and be informed on the research findings and future plans of Metropolitan Consortium of Higher Education of Students.