Driving Change in Higher Education.

Policy Update

Charting the Future update

Charting the Future (CTF) work groups have begun meeting over the past couple of months. In total, there are nine working groups that will ultimately make recommendations to the Chancellor regarding implementation of new system policy to reflect the goals laid out in the final CTF report that was approved by the Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees. 

At this time five of the groups have begun their work. Those include:

  • Student Success
  • System Rewards and Incentives 
  • Comprehensive Workplace Solutions
  • Diversity
  • Steering Committee

Each of these groups has 18 members including two students (one appointed by MSCSA and one state university student), representatives from each of the MnSCU system bargaining units and system office and campus staff who serve as issue area experts. 

This fall the remaining four implementation teams will begin their work. Those are:

  • Academic Planning and Collaboration 
  • Competency Certification and Credit for Prior Learning
  • Education Technology
  • Information Technology Systems Design 

The Academic Planning team has been charged with creating the legislatively mandated credit transfer implementation plan. During the previous session, legislators directed MnSCU to create a plan to implement new transfer degrees which would simplify transfer for students in these programs. That report is due to the legislature by March 15, 2015. 

If you have general questions about CTF, you can find more information here.

For more specific questions regarding this process, feel free to contact the MSCSA state office at 651-297-5877. 

MnSCU Board of Trustees elect Tom Renier chair

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees Chair Clarence Hightower’s term is coming to a close June 30, 2014, so the MnSCU Board of Trustees elected Tom Renier as its new chair and Margaret Anderson Kelliher as the vice chair. Renier has been on the MnSCU Board of Trustees since 2004 and was reappointed to a second six-year term in 2010. He is the president of the Northland Foundation, which serves northeastern Minnesota and provides assistance to both nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses with a focus on serving children, youth and families. Kelliher has served on the MnSCU Board of Trustees since 2012 and is the president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association. She served as a state representative from 1999 to 2011. Read more about Tom Renier being elected the chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees.

Shortening the FAFSA gains support from both sides of the aisle

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Michael F. Bennet have proposed legislation the would radically simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The legislation would cut the current application down to just two questions: the size of your family and household income from two years earlier. This idea is based on a paper from seven years ago by Susan Dynarski and Judith Scott-Clayton titled “College Grants on a Postcard: A Proposal for Simple and Predictable Federal Student Aid.” The premise of the paper was that nearly all of the FAFSA’s questions could be removed without a large change in the way the money is distributed. The concept of a simplified FAFSA has the support of conservatives who would like to see red tape eliminated and liberals who would like more low income students to attend college, but for them the FAFSA’s complexity is a hurdle. Potential opponents of a simplified FAFSA are states and colleges that rely on the data in the longer FAFSA form to make their decisions on need-based aid and grants. Read more about the proposed legislation to fix the FAFSA.

MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone agrees to new three-year contract

MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone agrees to new three-year contract

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees has signed a second three-year contract with current Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. The new contract will take him through July 31, 2017. The contract stipulates that Rosenstone must resign as a member of the University of Minnesota faculty by August 1, 2014. Rosenstone is currently on an unpaid leave of absence from his tenured faculty position at the U of M. Under the contract, Rosenstone’s base salary for 2014-15 is $387,250, which is an increase of 1.8% over 2013-14. Read more about Chancellor Rosenstone’s new contract here.


Policy Update: President Obama takes executive action to expand income-based repayment

President Obama takes executive action to expand income-based repayment

At a White House event Monday, President Obama will sign an executive action to expand the law that caps borrowers’ loan payments at 10% of their income. The expansion will allow those who borrowed before October 2007 or finished borrowing by October 2011 to take advantage of income-based repayment plans. An estimated five million additional borrowers will qualify for the program with the broadened parameters. Relatively few borrowers have enrolled in the income-based repayment plan up until this point with only 11% signing up for the program. Expansion of the income-based repayment plan will not begin until the end of 2015. Read more about the expansion of the income-based repayment.

A California community college provides a model on encouraging successful transfer

Santa Monica College feeds more students into the selective University of California system than any other college in the state. They have accomplished this by focusing attention and resources on transfer for their students, faculty and staff. There is signage about transferring all over campus. The school’s marketing materials emphasize that Santa Monica College is “No. 1 in transfers.” But more importantly there is administrative support for transferring students with 45 full-time and 70 part-time counselors working with students to create transfer plans, holding general transfer workshops and guiding students through the application process at four-year institutions. Read more about Santa Monica College and California’s attempts to improve its already successful transfer system.

Policy update: What MN college majors have the best return on investment?

What MN college majors have the best return on investment?

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has released a new tool that gives students an idea of what their job prospects are with a given major. The database has information on income by major, geographic area, level of degree and type of institution. Users will also be able to see the relative stability of jobs through data on the percentage of full-time versus part-time jobs with a major. The information is much more accurate than previous labor-market databases because it draws from reported social security income rather than surveys. The information is pulled from the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years and will be updated with new data each year. Read more about the graduate employment outcomes database here.

College president changes at Normandale and MCTC

Joyce Ester has been appointed the next president of Normandale Community College. She will begin serving on August 2. Previously, Ester was the president of Kennedy-King College in Chicago. Read more about Joyce Ester here. Also, after 17 years as the president of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Phil Davis is leaving to lead efficiency efforts in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Davis will head the system’s Campus Service Cooperative, an effort to help streamline system business operations. Read more about Phil Davis here.


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