Driving Change in Higher Education.

Student leaders speaking up at the state legislature

matt-rube-testifyMatt Rubel (left to right), a student at North Hennepin Community College and MSCSA 2013-14 Treasurer, testifies to the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee with MnSCU Board of Trustee’s Chair Clarence Hightower, MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and System Director of Financial Aid Chris HallingBy Sarah Clarke

MSCSA Director of Government Relations

During the recent Minnesota legislative session, public two-year college students from across the state ensured that their voices were heard by advocating for MSCSA’s priorities. Students testified in the House of Representatives Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee and Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee to support the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) budget proposal and working, part-time students. They met with lawmakers at the Capitol and on campus to articulate the priorities of Minnesota’s public two-year college students. Students from across the state wrote letters to the editor for their community newspapers to support the MSCSA legislative agenda. Students were consistently engaged throughout the session by attending committee hearings in addition to calling and emailing their lawmakers regarding the various higher education proposals. Throughout session in the House and Senate Higher Education Committees and during floor discussions, lawmakers frequently referenced the student input they received. 

In the Senate Committee, President Steve Sabin provided an overview of MSCSA and discussed his experience at Central Lakes College. Steve went back to college to become a nurse after caring for his ailing grandfather. MSCSA Platform Representative Jenna Lubinski, a student at Minnesota State College Southeast Technical, spoke to the committee about balancing school obligations and four jobs while being a single mother. Hennepin Technical College student, Bryan Pierce talked about caring for his special needs children while working full-time and taking a full course load. MSCSA Governing Council Representative and Treasurer-elect, Matt Rubel, a student at North Hennepin Community College testified on challenges facing part-time college students who work. To finance his education and avoid debt, Matt has worked two jobs and attends class on a part-time basis. MSCSA Governing Council Representative and President-elect Kelly Charpentier-Berg, a student at Anoka Ramsey Community College and North Hennepin Community College, also spoke to the Senate being a working, part-time student while raising three children. President Sabin addressed the House Higher Education Finance and Policy committee to support the MnSCU budget request. 

Thank you to all the students who participated in MSCSA’s state and federal advocacy. We look forward to continuing working with you to be a voice for Minnesota’s public two-year college students. 

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