Driving Change in Higher Education.

Latest News

Press Release: Legislature and Governor Take Important Step in Addressing College Affordability


Contact: Brenna Swanson (Mohr)­­, Associate Director, 651-203-9465, bmohr@mscsa.org


ST. PAUL, Minn., June 2, 2016 The recently approved supplemental budget bill passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton contained an important appropriation of $200,000 aimed at the creation and promotion of Open Educational Resources (OERs) that has the potential to save college students at Minnesota State institutions thousands of dollars.

OERs are educational materials such as textbooks that are licensed in an open-sources manner allowing for broad use by any faculty member on any campus.

“With Minnesota students facing some of the highest debt loads in the country and students at our community and technical colleges paying the 3rd highest tuition and fees in the nation, it’s crucial that steps be taken to address all aspects of higher education costs for students and families” said Tim St. Claire, President of MSCSA.

The approved funding along with work already being done by the Minnesota State system, campus administration, and faculty, will allow for expanded adoption of OERs on campuses and will lead to students saving thousands of dollars over their degree. 

“One faculty member recently made the decision to change to an OER for a class and the savings over a year totaled over $66,000. Thanks to the funding in this bill, the chance for more students to see this savings will be enhanced while maintaining the quality education our state and taxpayers deserve” St. Claire added.

The Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) represents students attending the state’s two-year technical, community, and comprehensive colleges on 48 campuses advocating for more than 100,000 students across the state.


End of session recap, last call for St. Paul Saints tickets, and so much more!

Association Update 05-23-16 


Upcoming Events:

The Great MSCSA
Get-Together: St. Paul Saints Baseball Game

Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016
Location: CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul, MN 55101
Register by Thursday, May 26!


Alumni Meeting

Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016
Location: MSCSA Office, 1515 S. Robert St., West St. Paul, MN 55118
Time: 2:00 PM
Contact MSCSA Alumni Association Chair Heather Darby with questions!


Incoming Leader Training

Date: August 17-19, 2016
Location: Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, 28097 Goodview Dr, Lanesboro, MN 55949
Registration opening soon!
This event is for 2016-17 MSCSA Cabinet, Governing Council and Platform Committee representatives and alternates, and one student senate president or representative from each campus.

In the News:

2015-16 Star Campus Winners

We would like to recognize the following campuses on an outstanding year and being named MSCSA Star Campus!
1st Year Winners:
  • Northland Community College - East Grand Forks
  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Hennepin Technical College - Eden Prairie
    Mesabi Range College -Eveleth
  • Mesabi Range College -Eveleth
2nd Year Winners:
  • Mesabi Range College -Virginia
  • Century College
3rd Year Winners:
  • Anoka Ramsey Community College - Cambridge
  • South Central College - Fairbault
4th Year Winners:
  • Inver Hills Community College
  • Saint Paul College
  • Hennepin Technical College - Brooklyn Park
5th Year Winners:
  • Anoka Technical College
  • Normandale Community College
6th Year Winners:
  • Anoka Ramsey Community College - Coon Rapids
  • Dakota County Community and Technical College
  • Lake Superior College

Just a few days remain to register for The Great MSCSA Get-Together!

Here are the top 5 reasons to register for The Great MSCSA Get-Together!
TheGreatMSCSAGetTogether SquareLogo 2016
  1. If you haven't had the opportunity to get inside the new CHS field and see what all the fuss is about, now is your chance! The St. Paul Saints baseball games are always exciting to watch and the game is made even better by their fabulous new location! Watch them take on the Winnipeg Goldeyes!
  2. Tailgate pre-party! There will be a ballpark picnic dinner provided, yard games, prize drawings, and more! Gather your friends and family and enjoy dinner and activities on us before the game! This event is great for the young and the young-at-heart! Everyone is welcome and kids under 2 are FREE!
  3. Catch up with all your current and past MSCSA pals, meet new friends, or just learn more about our organization and what we are working on.
  4. Who doesn't love a free swag? Each attendee will receive a Great MSCSA Get-Together t-shirt! We will all wear our t-shirts to the game and show the community our support of Minnesota's community and technical college students.
  5. Your attendance at this exciting event will support Minnesota's next generation of great leaders. The purchase of a ticket equals a $10 donation to the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship program!
Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM Tailgate party & dinner, 7:05 PM Game
Place: CHS Field, 360 Broadway St, St. Paul, MN 55101
Cost: $10 per ticket
Schedule of Events:
5:00 PM - Tailgate party (bags, ladder golf, etc.)
5:30 PM - Dinner
6:15 PM - Prize drawings
6:30 PM - Last call for ticket pickup
7:05 PM - Game begins! (St. Paul Saints take on the Winnipeg Goldeyes)
Register by this Thursday, May 26! Space is limited and tickets are going fast. We hope to see you there!
Questions? Call Director of Program & Events Lindsay Barton at 651-203-9452 or email lbarton@mscsa.org
Register Here

The 2016 Legislative Session came to a close today.

The 2016 Minnesota legislative session ended at midnight today and higher education funding and policy was a part of the both the supplemental budget and tax bills that were passed. Both of these major pieces of legislation require a signature from Governor Mark Dayton to become law, but we wanted to provide an update on the higher education issues adopted by the legislature that will effect students.
Tax Provisions:
The omnibus tax bill passed both the House and the Senate and is headed to the governor for his action. The tax bill provides two provisions of interest to higher education - student loan credit and college savings plans. Below are the specifics around the two higher education related provisions:
  • Student loan credit: $36.5 million in 2017, $75.4 million in the next biennium. This provision creates a credit of up to $1,000 for eligible individuals who are paying for student loans. The percentages of student loan payments eligible for the credit are:

- 50 percent of qualified educational loans.
- 65 percent of qualified loans for eligible individuals in a public service job.
- 75 percent of qualified loans for eligible individuals in an education profession.

  • College savings plans: $15.8 million in 2017, $33.2 million in the next biennium. This bill establishes a maximum credit of $500 per year and an income tax subtraction of up to $1,500 for qualified contributions to Minnesota’s 529 college savings plans.
Supplemental Budget:
The $182 million supplemental budget bill passed both the House and the Senate on Sunday evening. The bill contained $5 million for higher education that included:
  • $570,000 to MnSCU base and an additional
  • $200,000 in one-time funds to support open textbook initiatives. This was an initiative brought forward by MSCSA in partnership with Students United.
  • 500,000 is set aside for equity in post-secondary grants which will be administered by the Office of Higher Education and available to MnSCU.
Bonding Bill:
Late Sunday night, House and Senate leadership reached agreement on a final bonding package that would have provided $818 million in new projects along with another $300 million for infrastructure projects. However, time ran short and the bill was ultimately not passed by the Senate. Barring a special session it likely means there will be no bonding bill this year.

Annual award recipients recognized at Spring GA!

Congratulations to the below individuals and campuses on recieving the following awards. These awards were presented at our annual Awards Dinner at the Spring General Assembly in Breezy Point, MN on April 16.
  • Student Leader of the Year: Michaela Current
  • Governing Council Member of the Year: Debra Tucker
  • Platform Representative of the Year: Cass Wendlandt
  • Student Senate of the Year: Normandale Community College
  • MnSCU Committee Member of the Year: Trustin Ziemer
  • Alumni Member of the Year: Catie Sabin
  • College President of the Year: Larry Lundblad, Central lake College
  • Student Senate Advisor of the Year: Shannon Williams, Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Instructor of the Year: Craig Maus, Saint Paul College

Summer office hours take effect Friday, May 27.

Summer is just around the corner! Please be advised that from Friday, May 27 through Friday September 2, the MSCSA office will be closed on Fridays starting at 12:00 PM.
Our regular office hours are:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Monday-Friday)
Our summer office hours are:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Monday-Thursday)
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Friday)

Announcing the 2016-17 elected leadership and so much more!

Association Update 04-25-16 


Upcoming Events:

Save the Date

The Great MSCSA
Get-Together: St. Paul Saints Baseball Game

Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016
Location: CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul, MN 55101
Time: 5:00 PM Tailgate Dinner & Games, 7:05 PM Game Time
Cost: Tickets will be $10, which includes a game ticket, a tailgate dinner party, and a t-shirt!
This event is open to everyone and all proceeds benefit the Leadership Scholarship fund.
Registration opening soon!

From the Blog:

2016-17 Leadership Elected at Spring GA

The MSCSA General Assembly came together at Breezy Point Resort on April 15-17 to elect the next leadership of the Minnesota State College Student Association. The next student leaders of the organization are as follows:
Dylan Kelly

Minda Nelson
Vice President
Kimberly Thielen
Public Relations Coordinator
Richard Barnier

Samantha Crea
Governing Council

Estefania Navarro
Platform Committee

Student Leaders Needed for 2016 Fall Semester MnSCU Transfer Pathway Teams

As many of you know, improving the two-year to four-year transfer process has been a top priority of MSCSA for the last couple of years. This year, our student leaders have accomplished great work by successfully completing four transfer pathways for Biology, Theater, Business, and Psychology degrees. This upcoming 2016 fall semester, 12 more Transfer Pathway Teams will begin their work for degrees in Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Police, Early Childhood Education, Economics, Elementary Education, Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Mathematics, Nursing, Social Work and Sociology.
MSCSA is looking for students to sit as student representatives for these teams. Transfer Pathway Teams can be a great leadership development opportunity. The commitment is meeting twice a month (in person or via phone) for about 3-4 hours and letting the MSCSA office know how the meeting went. The student will get support from the MSCSA office throughout the semester and will get good experience representing students at a state-wide level. We have until this Saturday (May 30) to get our student representatives names in to MnSCU, so time is of the essence!
To apply for a Transfer Pathway Team, please email Tim St. Claire.

MSCSA Scholarship Applications Due May 1

If you are a current student attending a college or university within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and will be at that institution next fall 2016 or are transferring from a college to a four-year MnSCU university, then this message is for you!
Applications are being accepted until May 1, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. for three MSCSA scholarships.
The scholarships range from $500 to $1,250.

  • MSCSA Leadership Scholarship: A scholarship that rewards emerging student leaders for their community services for both two-year college and four-year university students. Applicants must demonstrate strong leadership skills and a commitment to serving others. Graduate and PSEO students are not eligible.
  • Dr. Steve and Darla Frantz Leadership Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship program is intended to provide financial assistance to Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate leadership in academics, extracurricular activities and community or national service with a priority given to those who are serving or have served in good standing in any branch of the United States Military or other U.S. national service and have exhausted federal and state service related education benefits excluding the Minnesota GI Bill. PSEO students are not eligible.

  • John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool Fund Scholarship: This endowed fund will provide funds for tool purchases required for completing a technical course of study for students attending one of the technical colleges or technical programs within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Preference will be given to a student enrolled in the area of Technical/Management/Trades.

For additional details on how to apply for a MSCSA scholarship, please visit www.mscsa.org/aboutmscsa/scholarship
Scholarship applications are due by Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.

MnSCU Students Receive Mark M. Welter World Citizen Awards and $13,000 in Scholarships

Twenty-six students from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have been selected to receive Mark M. Welter World Citizen Awards with $500 to be used for tuition, fees, and books during spring and/or fall semesters 2016.
Congratulations goes to the following recipients of this award:
  • Julianne Monceaux - Alexandria Technical and Community College
  • Alexus Kay Joullanar - Anoka-Ramsey Community College
  • Arlyn Sam - Central Lakes College
  • Abdulai Abubakari Adam - Century College
  • Mehmet Ongel - Dakota County Technical College
  • Julie Isham - Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
  • Jzong Vue - Hennepin Technical College
  • Ariel Mendoza-Cordova - Inver Hills Community College
  • Lee Mickelson - Mesabi Range College
  • Dechen Wangmo - Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Kristina Kunkel - Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Alexandria Nuese - Minnesota West Community and Technical College
  • Tiffany Londeen - Normandale Community College
  • Ahmed Aboubadria - North Hennepin Community College
  • Sylvia Akoachere - Northland Community and Technical College
  • Chance Sheffield - Northwest Technical College
  • Francisco Diaz - Pine Technical and Community College
  • Ryston Watts - Rainy River Community College
  • Cassandra Brown - Ridgewater College
  • "Tatiana" Armelle Adjinata - Riverland Community College
  • Carolina Martinez Garcia - Rochester Community and Technical College
  • Dayna Aslesen - South Central College
  • Cole Wilson - Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi - St. Cloud State University
  • Adrian Rodriguez - Vermilion Community College
  • Lauren Praska - Winona State University
Through the generosity of Dr. Mark Welter, this award provides a semi-annual tribute to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students who most exemplify the thoughts, words and actions demanded by a 21st century world citizen. Award recipients are nominated by college/university faculty and staff and share some or all of the following beliefs/commitments:
  • All people are of a common species who share a common adventure in a common home.
  • The world shares common problems (pollution, terrorism, challenges) but views them through differing cultural and religious value perspectives.
  • All citizens of planet Earth mutually share an interconnected, fragile biosphere.
  • All people-all cultures, all creeds, all colors, and all countries-have been “depositors and with drawers at the world bank of knowledge.”
  • Our world is increasingly, inexorably, and undeniably interdependent.
  • No one nation, people, religion, or creed can unilaterally deal with contemporary challenges of pollution, population, poverty, pandemics, and peace.
If you would like additional information on the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award or would like to contribute to the Minnesota State College Student Association, please contact Joyce Petsch, Development Assistant at jpetsch@mscsa.org or 651-203-9464.

MSCSA Summer Office Hours Take Effect Friday, May 27.

We may feel like spring has just arrived here in Minnesota, but summer is just around the corner! Please be advised that from Friday, May 27 through Friday September 2, the MSCSA office will be closed on Fridays starting at 12:00 PM.
Our regular office hours are:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Monday-Friday)
Our summer office hours are:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Monday-Thursday)
     8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Friday)

News You Can Use: 03/31/16

A Tale of Two Testimonies

Legislative session is in full swing and that means the MSCSA cabinet is hard at work advocating for the interests of Minnesota’s community and technical college students. On Tuesday, March 29, President Kevin Parker and Vice President Tim St. Claire took to the Capitol to make MSCSA’s voice heard on two issues close to our students’ hearts – developmental education and open educational resources.

Developmental Education

Developmental education has been a hot-button issue at the legislature and this session is no different. MSCSA President Kevin Parker spoke on behalf of the organization before the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee on HF3083. Developmental education courses are often a significant barrier for students in the MnSCU system. Disproportionately affecting students of color, developmental education courses often carry no credit while costing full price and eat into state and federal aid eligibility. We also know that students enrolled in developmental education are less likely to stay in college and graduate with a degree. MSCSA is enthusiastic about identifying solutions to the developmental education puzzle so that more students can succeed in the MnSCU system.

Open Educational Resources

It wouldn’t be a day at MSCSA without Vice President Tim St. Claire talking about textbooks. Tim took his passion for textbook affordability and open educational resources before the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee to advocate for a bill sponsored by MSCSA. MSCSA’s bill would build on the good work being done at the MnSCU system office by increasing funding for open educational resource pilot projects across the system. To learn more about MSCSA’s work on open educational resources, click here

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.


Happening on Twitter