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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-203-9464.
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:
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.
Association Update 11-23-15
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.
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:
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 email@example.com.
2015 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.