The 5th Annual D.C. Summit is off to a great start! With over 70 students arriving from all over Minnesota on Saturday, MSCSA started our training in earnest. The students were taught best practices for meeting with their congressional representatives and were given the chance to practice their skills on "mock legislators." There were some very powerful, moving personal stories shared by our students that relate to the items on our federal legislative agenda.
Today, MSCSA will begin our first meetings with a few organizations that advocate on higher education issues. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Corporation for National and Community Service are just a couple examples. On Tuesday, students will meet with their representatives to ask for their support on our legislative priorities. Although we were pretty busy getting ready for our meetings, we did have some time to explore Washington, D.C. Pictured above, from left to right, is Vice President Kerrie Maleski, Treasurer Matthew Rubel, President Kayley Schoonmaker, and Public Relations Coordinator William Tully.
The 2015 state legislative session continues forward and has brought a number of higher education issues to the forefront.
The Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee has been busy examining several key areas of higher education thus far. They have considered legislation or heard reports on developmental education, Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), financial aid, system performance funding, and other important initiatives.
The House Higher Education Committee has also been busy tackling important higher education issues. This group has heard budget presentations from both the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and the University of Minnesota. They have also heard testimony from student and faculty groups, including testimony from MSCSA. During that hearing, MSCSA President Kayley Schoonmaker and Public Relations Coordinator William Tully told committee members about the many challenges Minnesota students are facing in regards to tuition costs, credit transfer, and financial aid to assist part-time students. The committee also has considered legislation that would address the reporting of sexual violence incidences on campuses and training to help prevent such occurrences.
Over the next couple of weeks, the committees will continue to hear bills regarding policy issues and will then transition to the rollout of budget bills. Governor Dayton is expected to rollout his supplemental budget bill today, March 9. This new proposal will reflect his ideas for spending. This is following the release of the state’s February budget forecast that projects the state to have a nearly $2 billion surplus. In mid-to-late-March, it’s expected that the House and Senate will do the same. The release of budget bills will begin the process of creating the overall state budget.
It is hard to adequately convey what it has meant to be your Executive Director over the past 9 years. MSCSA has been an integral part of my life since I attended my first association conference as a student in 1998. It was then that I recognized that the association was a special place. It inspired and challenged me to get involved and gave me the tools necessary to become a more active participant in shaping higher education.
Since then, I’ve attended over 100 MSCSA conferences and I’m confident the association leaves hundreds of students feeling that same way each year. Some of the most fulfilling moments of my career have been when alumni reach out years after graduation and share how the association changed their life. I can certainly relate, and it gives me so much hope for our future.
We are fortunate to have the support of thousands of alumni who posses a shared value for ensuring accessible, quality, and affordable public higher education for all Minnesotans. I am grateful to our many alumni members who continue to volunteer their time, energy, and resources to support the mission of MSCSA. Your support makes MSCSA stronger each year. Rest assured, I plan to join your work soon!
Since announcing my departure, I have had the chance to reflect on the many significant accomplishments and relationships that we’ve built over the past nine years together as an association. I owe a giant “thank you” to so many of you and am forever grateful for the opportunity to have served this organization. MSCSA looks a lot different than it did a decade ago, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.
Before I go, I need to ask one favor. Please help the MSCSA Governing Council identify the next Executive Director by passing along the position posting. It is an exciting time to think about the many opportunities ahead and who the right person is to next lead MSCSA into the future.
As the legislative session forges ahead, we are excited to continue working on the issue that students have indicated are most important. If you have not yet seen or heard about the MSCSA's top priorities, please check out our 2014-15 legislative agenda. If you questions, please feel free to contact our office at 651-297-5877.
A highlight of the MSCSA Spring General Assembly is the Annual Awards Dinner. In order to make this a meaningful and successful event we need your help! Think about the people on campus or in MSCSA who have gone the extra mile and deserve some recognition.
The process is simple. Submit a brief letter of nomination and any supporting materials that you want to provide using the MSCSA Annual Awards Nomination Form. That’s it!
Award areas include:
We are counting on you! Nominations are due by Wednesday, March 11, 2015.
Questions? Contact the MSCSA office at 651-297-5877.