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Legislative Update

KayleySchoonmaker testimonyLast week was second deadline week for the Minnesota legislature. In order to meet this deadline, committees had lengthy agendas as they tried to get all bills through committee. On Tuesday, the House Higher Education Committee heard HF1996, authored by Rep. Josh Heintzman. This is MSCSA's transfer bill that directs Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) to implement new transfer degree pathways using, to the greatest extent possible, the plan created by the Academic Planning and Collaboration Charting the Future Team. The bill also encourages MnSCU, in consultation with system constituency groups, to explore the creation or enhancement of Bachelor of Applied Science degrees.

The bill was ultimately laid over for possible inclusion in the committee's omnibus bill. A couple weeks ago, the Senate Higher Education Committee heard the companion to this bill and passed it unanimously on to the Finance Committee for further deliberation. 

Also last week, both the House and Senate released budget targets. These are spending benchmarks for each committee. In the House, the Higher Education Committee received a target that is $53 million above the projected base. In the Senate, the Higher Education Committee received an additional $205 million. Following the legislature's spring break, committees will begin their work on budget bills.

The NEW Students' View - Student Stories

The Editorial Board has been working to gather educational stories from students and the first two are now posted. Check out the new Student Stories section of our website and come back often to see what new stories have been added. If you have a story that you would like to share with us, please contact William Tully, Public Relations Coordinator at 651-203-9457 orprc@mscsa.org. We would love to hear from you!

Executive Director Search Update

The search for the next Executive Director of the Minnesota State College Student Association is well underway. MSCSA’s Governing Council has retained an executive search firm, The Mazzitelli Group, to facilitate the search. Please help the Governing Council identify the next Executive Director by passing along the position posting to anyone who you think would be a great candidate. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, April 10. If you have questions, please contact Teresa Mazzitelli at 952-476-5449 or tm@mazzsearch.com.

A screening committee will be reviewing candidates and hopes to schedule interviews for the end of April. This committee is made up of President Schoonmaker, a Governing Council representative, a Platform Committee representative, a Presidents' Group representative, an alumni member, and a campus advisor. The committee will be recommending finalists to the Governing Council come the beginning of May. We would ideally like to have the new Executive Director start in June.

In the meantime, Justin Klander will be assisting on a part-time basis. We look forward to seeing him at the Spring General Assembly in a few short weeks. Again, we would like to thank Justin for the nine years of wonderful service leading MSCSA and helping to build it into the wonderful association that it is today.

Students advocate in Washington, D.C. at 5th Annual D.C. Summit

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.

Legislative Update

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.


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