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From the Generosity of Mark M. Welter, Ten MnSCU Students Receive the 100% American Scholarship

Ten students from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have been selected to receive the 100% American Scholarship with $500 to be used for tuition, fees, and books during the 2016 spring semester, totaling $5,000 in scholarships.

Congratulations go to the following award recipients:

  • Jeanne Amey, Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Andrea Butzer, South Central College
  • Chad Conway, Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Lanoy Dara, Minnesota West Community and Technical College
  • Abdullahi Isse, Normandale Community College
  • Julie Moxley, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical
  • Morgan Richardson, Minnesota State University Moorhead
  • Jordan Robinson, Minnesota West Community and Technical College
  • Levi Patric Skogstad, Rainy River Community College
  • Bonnie Vik, Minnesota West Community and Technical College

This award, through the generosity of Dr. Mark Welter, provided an insight to demonstrate that “all people – all creeds, all cultures, all colors, all countries have been borrowers and depositors at the world bank of knowledge.” The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students who applied responded to the four essay questions reflecting this.

If you would like to apply for a Minnesota State College Student Association scholarship, please visit www.mscsa.org/about-mscsa/scholarship or if you would like to contribute to the Minnesota State College Student Association scholarship fund, please contact MSCSA Development Assistant Joyce Petsch at jpetsch@mscsa.org or 651-203-9464.

News You Can Use: 01/12/16

MnSCU Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program Open for Applications!

Exciting news, MSCSA! Minnesotans can now apply for the MnSCU Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program. The program, passed by the legislature last year, will fund approximately 1,200 scholarships for MnSCU two-year college students enrolled in high-demand employment areas. Eligible students will receive funding for any costs not covered by other federal and state aid programs – allowing students to graduate from college debt free! In addition, recipients of the grant will receive mentoring to help them complete their program and make concrete steps towards graduating from college.

In order to qualify for the grant, students must:

  • Have graduated from high school or adult basic education or passed the GED as a Minnesota resident during the 2015-16 school year
  • Completed a 12 or 24-month Americorps program that started immediately after high school graduation during the 2015-16 school year

In addition, students must be Minnesota residents and have an adjusted gross income of less than $90,000. Full application requirements are available from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. There is no separate application to apply to this grant – students need only submit their FAFSA forms and their eligibility will be determined from that information.

Although current college students are ineligible for this aid, the grant program is an excellent opportunity for MSCSA members to reach out to their friends, families, and communities to spread the word about the value of community college and the chance to graduate from college debt-free.  Debt-free community college is a priority for MSCSA. Minnesota has the third highest college costs in the country with the average Associate Degree student graduating with nearly $20,000 in debt. This debt load means that students will be paying more than $200 a month for at least ten years. With a median starting salary of approximately $38,000 before taxes, associate degree graduates are burdened with more than $2,400 a year in loan repayment expectations.

This grant program provides the opportunity for students to avoid the debt burden that has been placed on MnSCU community college students for far too long. By encouraging your friends and family to apply to college and this grant program, Minnesotans can demonstrate to legislators the value and demand for debt-free community college. For more information on the program and for tools on how you can recruit students in your community, click here for MSCSA’s Minnesota Debt-Free Pilot Program Toolkit for Community Advocacy.


Be part of the MSCSA team! We are hiring and looking for volunteers to join us at Bridging on 1/20.

Association Update 11-23-15

MSCSA Association Update - December 2015
MSCSA Association Update - December 2015

January Student Leadership Conference

Dates: January 7-9, 2016
Location: Normandale Community College & Radisson Blu - Bloomington, MN
View event details.

2016 Scholarship Gala

Date: Friday, January 8, 2016
Location: Radisson Blu - Bloomington, MN
View event details.

February Student Leadership Conference

Dates: February 26-28, 2016
Location: Minnesota State Community and Technical College & Best Western -
Fergus Falls, MN
Register by Friday, February 12.

FREE Hungry for Equity Partner Forum

Date: January 23, 2016
Location: Schulze Hall Auditorium, University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus
MSCSA is proud to be partnering with Growth & Justice and several other organizations to present the Hungry for Equity Partner Forum. The goal of the forum is to craft an education and workforce agenda, starting with a deep dive into the facts of disparities in higher education and our workforce. The forum will explore solutions, policies, and practices that drive equitable college and job opportunities in Minnesota. Our ultimate goal is to create an education and workforce equity agenda that will, once and for all, move us all forward.
We are currently hiring for these positions:

Come Volunteer With MSCSA at Bridging on January 20!

Bridging logo
We are looking for 10-15 volunteers to join the MSCSA staff and cabinet in an afternoon of giving back to the community.
Through the effective reuse of donated items, Bridging improves lives by providing quality furniture and household goods to those transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. Bridging serves over 80 households each week who are given a sense of dignity and stability as they rebuild their lives.
Listen to the Bridging story, meet the clients who benefit from this program, and see the place in action: Watch the 2-minute video.
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Time: 1:00-4:00 PM.
Location: Bridging-Roseville, 1633 Terrace Drive, Roseville, MN 55113.
You will be providing general warehouse assistance: loading and unloading trucks, sorting through donated goods, rolling linens and restocking shelves. Specific projects will be determined on the day of our event based on final group size, inventory and warehouse priorities. All volunteers must be 14 or older.
Sign up to volunteer with us!

New Scholarship Application and Webpage Unveiled!

Apply by May 1 for Fall 2016 Scholarships!
Exciting news! The MSCSA scholarship webpage and our online application have been revised. It is now easier than ever to see if you are qualified and to apply for these amazing scholarships.
What are those scholarships?
  • MSCSA Leadership Scholarship
    A scholarship that rewards emerging student leaders for their community services for both two-year college and four-year university students.
  • McCormick Leadership Scholarship
    This scholarship is for students pursuing a certificate, undergraduate degree, or an advanced degree who demonstrate leadership in academics, extracurricular activities and community service.
  • Dr. Steve and Darla Frantz Leadership Endowed Scholarship
    A new scholarship recently created in honor of Dr. Steve Frantz for 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. The first scholarship will be dispersed for the 2016 fall semester.
  • Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship
    This scholarship was created to provide scholarship support to students enrolled in a technical program at one of the technical or consolidated colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool Fund
    This scholarship will provide funds for tool purchases required for completing a technical course of student for students attending one of the technical colleges or technical programs within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, with preference given to students enrolled in the area of Technology/Management/Trades.
  • Irja Sundgren Pratt Endowed Scholarship
    A scholarship that will be given annually to a student enrolled at any college within the Northeast Higher Education District and have completed at least one semester of course-work at the college.
For more details, please visit www.mscsa.org/about-mscsa/scholarship.
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Office Closure Notice

The MSCSA office will be closed from December 24, 2015 through January 3, 2016 in observance of the holiday season. The MSCSA staff and cabinet would like to wish you all the warmest of holiday cheer!

News You Can Use: 12/18/15

MnSCU Releases Campus Diversity Planning Toolkit

A joint priority for MSCSA and MnSCU’s Charting the Future initiative is the creation of campus diversity plans for all MnSCU institutions. To support this process, MnSCU has created and released the "Inclusive Excellence" Diversity & Equity Planning Toolkit. This blog post is intended to help students understand the process, structure, and timeline of diversity planning that will be happening on their campuses for the remainder of the 2015-16 academic year.Diversity Plan

History of MnSCU Campus Diversity Planning

Throughout the history of the MnSCU system, various campuses have taken the initiative to create campus diversity plans to create an educational environment that is welcoming and inclusive. As part of the Charting the Future process, the Diversity Implementation Team recommended that all campuses create diversity plans. This recommendation was then included in the Leadership Council’s Charting the Future work plan, signaling MnSCU Campus Presidents’ willingness and commitment to creating diversity plans to help move MnSCU in a more diverse and equitable direction.

Inclusive Excellence Diversity & Equity Planning Toolkit

To support the creation of campus diversity plans, MnSCU created a Diversity Planning Workgroup that produced an Inclusive Excellence Diversity & Equity Planning Toolkit. Disappointingly, students were not involved in the creation of the Toolkit. However, the Toolkit provides helpful guidelines for campus communities on how to create and implement an effective diversity plan.

Campus Diversity Planning Phases

Campus diversity plans will be created and sustained through a six phase process: 1) Convening the planning team, 2) Conducting an institutional needs assessment and research, 3) Analyzing Data, 4) Drafting the plan, 5) Implementing a communication plan, and 6) Sustaining the diversity planning process.  Details of each phase can be found in the Toolkit, available on MnSCU’s website.

Campus Diversity Planning Team

Campus diversity plans will be created and implemented by Diversity Planning Teams on each campus. Diversity Planning Teams will be composed of administrators, subject matter experts, community stakeholders, staff, faculty, and most importantly – students. Student involvement in Campus Diversity Planning Teams is crucial to the success of campus diversity planning, as students are key to communicating their own and their peers’ lived experiences of diversity on campus.

Campus Diversity Planning Timeline

MnSCU suggests that campuses follow the timeline below to ensure that they submit a diversity plan by June of 2016 as required by the Leadership Council work plan:

    • November-December 2015: Campuses form Diversity Planning Team
    • January 2016: Diversity Planning Team is confirmed
    • February 2016: Training an orientation of Diversity Planning Team
    • March-April 2016: Institutional needs assessment and analysis
    • April-May 2016: Diversity plan is drafted
    • June 2016: Diversity plan is finalized

Action Items for MSCSA Members

It is critical that students be involved in campus diversity planning. If students are not yet appointed the committee or you are unsure of the status of your Campus Diversity Planning Team, reach out to your campus President and diversity officer(s). Help students be prepared for Diversity Planning Team meetings by reviewing the "Inclusive Excellence" Diversity & Equity Planning Toolkit and engaging actively in the planning process. Be sure to communicate the progress of your Campus Diversity Planning Team to MSCSA so that we can ensure that things are going as smoothly as possible on your campus.

Have questions or concerns about campus diversity planning? Want to share the progress of your Campus Diversity Planning Team? Contact Director of Policy Becca Branum at bbranum@mscsa.org


News You Can Use: 12/10/15

State Initiatives Demonstrate Momentum for Debt-Free Community College

Renew Our Promise2015 will be remembered as the year that began the Debt-Free Community College movement. In the past year, 14 states have introduced legislation to support debt-free community college. Although only three have passed to date, this surge in legislative activity signals an increasing recognition of the value of community and technical colleges. The following post outlines legislative action across the nation on debt-free community college and highlights how Minnesota's community and technical college students can advocate for debt-free community college on their campuses.

Oregon & Tennessee Promises

Oregon and Tennessee are leading the debt-free community college charge in the United States. Both programs, Oregon Promise and Tennessee Promise respectively, provide last dollar grants to those that qualify for the program. Last dollar grants make up the cost difference between tuition price and any aid received from the federal government. Unique to the Tennessee Promise program is an intensive mentoring component. Each recipient of the Tennessee Promise scholarship is assigned a mentor to assist students with the college selection and education process. In 2015, more than 9,000 people in Tennessee volunteered to be part of the program. Mentoring is key to community and technical college completion and data demonstrates that faculty mentorship increases student persistence and nearly doubles persistence among minority students.


Debt-free community college has also received support right here at home. Minnesota Senate Bill 5 created the College Occupational Scholarship Pilot Program. This pilot program, starting in 2016 and lasting through the 2017-18 school year, provides last dollar aid to students in high demand program areas. As part of the program, students will receive mentoring to develop student success plans. In order to be eligible, students must graduate from a Minnesota high school or receive their G.E.D. immediately prior to enrolling. Details for how the funds will be distributed are under development by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Approximately 1,200 students are expected to benefit from this pilot program.


Although only three states have passed debt-free community college legislation this year, many state legislatures have considered such bills. The National Conference of State Legislatures, the leading resource on state legislative action, details the nuances of these bills. Although these legislative initiatives differ in their approach to debt-free community college, all underscore the enormous value that community and technical colleges provide to their communities and recognize the importance of affordability to persistence and college completion.

What You Can Do

MSCSA is dedicated to making community and technical colleges accessible and affordable for all Minnesotans. If you are passionate about ensuring access and success for all Minnesotans, check out our Debt-Free Community College toolkit. Inside you’ll find all that you need to organize on your campus to help build a movement in Minnesota to increase investment in our community and technical colleges.

Find out more at http://mscsa.nationbuilder.com.


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