Driving Change in Higher Education.

News You Can Use: 03/28/16

Student Voices Heard Loud and Clear in St. Paul and Washington D.C.

MSCSA has been busy in March advocating for the interests of community & technical colleges across the state of Minnesota. On March 14-15, MSCSA leaders met with elected officials in Washington D.C. to lobby on federal issues affecting students in Minnesota. In addition, students met with several non-profit groups to learn more about higher education policy and how MSCSA can advance higher education for community and technical college students.

On March 23rd, MSCSA had its annual Advocacy Day at the Minnesota State Capitol. Despite the ongoing capitol construction, students met with legislators from across the state to deliver a unified message about affordability, open educational resources, and equity in higher education. The following outlines MSCSA’s state legislative agenda for 2016 aimed at benefitting students state-wide.

MnSCU Bonding Proposal

MSCSA supports the MnSCU bonding proposal, which requests $254.5 million in projects. $110 million of this proposal is for HEAPR projects. HEAPR – Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement – projects help keep our students warm, safe, and dry. Investing in existing infrastructure is a cost effective way to ensure that students have adequate resources to succeed in MnSCU institutions. Repair work to infrastructure may not be the most exciting issue, but functional facilities are key to student success. It’s true what they say: HEAPR is cheaper!

MnSCU Supplemental Request

MSCSA is grateful to the legislature for funding a tuition freeze and decrease for community and technical college students. To build on this good work and to ensure quality across the MnSCU system, MSCSA is advocating for MnSCU’s supplemental budget request. The $21 million requested by MnSCU will help protect the investment that the legislature made last year.

Open Educational Resources

MSCSA is sponsoring legislation that will build on MnSCU’s investment into open educational resources. Open educational resources (OERs) are electronic textbooks that can be fully customizable by faculty and are often free to use. MSCSA believes that OERs are key to reducing textbook costs for students. Because more than 20% of a community or technical college student’s costs come from textbooks, movement towards OERs would translate to huge savings for students. MSCSA’s bill will continue to fund OER pilot programs on campuses across the state and supplement the Open Education Resource Learning Network. To learn more about MSCSA’s work on textbook affordability, click here.

To view our state legislative materials, click here.

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