Article I: Mission Statement  

Section A: Mission Statement  

The Minnesota State College Student Association (herein referred to as the MSCSA) is an association of Minnesota’s public two-year college students, which works to ensure accessible, quality, and affordable public higher education while providing students with representation, leadership development, and communication across the state.  

Article II: Federal Legislative Issues

Section A: Financial Aid 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Financial aid based entirely on income of the family rather than the cost of the institution. 
2. Full funding of the authorized Pell Grant award for all eligible students. 
3. Additional increases in the Income Protection Allowance to aid part-time students. 
4. Entitlement status for the Pell Grant Program. 
5. Increased funding and availability of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and expanding award eligibility to non-Pell qualified students. 
6. Efforts to simplify the application process for all forms of financial aid. 
7. Assistance in completing the application process for all forms of financial aid at no cost to students. 
8. Timely disbursements of financial aid by the tenth day of classes. 
9. Efforts to simplify the process to attain independent student status and grant independent student status at the age of 19, if the student so chooses. 
10. Providing campus financial aid directors greater flexibility under the “professional judgment” rule to grant a student “independent” status for the purposes of determining financial aid eligibility. The Department of Education should also establish uniform standards to guide campus financial aid directors using the rule. 
11. Exemptions from the financial aid maximum timeframe limitations for students whose academic programs change resulting in the need to take additional courses.
12. The ability of undocumented and international students to access federal financial aid.
13. Legislation that would remove the drug and selective service line items from the FAFSA application form. 

Section B: Loan Programs 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Lower, fixed interest rates on all federal student loans and retaining the “in-school” interest subsidy for undergraduate subsidized Stafford Loans. 
2. A minimum 12-month repayment period, excluding the grace period, for all student loans. 
3. Continuation and increased funding and availability for the Carl D. Perkins Fund. 
4. Reforming the federal government’s method of calculating student loan default rates in a way that more accurately reflects the actual rate of student loan defaults. 
5. Retaining the 6-month grace period for all federal loans. 
6. Expanded loan forgiveness programs. 

Section C: Work-Study Programs 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Increased funding and expanded eligibility for the Federal Work-Study program. 
2. Expanded work-study opportunities in the public, educational, community, health care, non-profit and for profit sectors. 
3. Students receiving the full benefit of the work-study grant entitlement. 

Section D: Child Care 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Increased accessibility and funding for all child care programs. 
2. Increased funding and expanded eligibility for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. 

Section E: Tax Credits and Deductions 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Tax deductions for interest assessed on all educational loans. 
2. Tax credits for tuition paid, books, educational materials, computers and interest assessed on all educational loans. 
3. Refundable higher education tax credits. 

Section F: Other Federal Issues 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. The continued re-authorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965. 
2. Student organizations’ right to organize at the federal level. 
3. The continuation of the U.S. Department of Education as an individual cabinet level department.
4. Federal legislation that requires practices of publishers, bookstores, and institutions that lower textbook costs for students. 
5. Making the U.S. Department of Education’s Shopping Sheet mandatory for all colleges and universities across all sectors. 

MSCSA Opposes: 
1. Reductions to aid programs. 
2. Use of student social security numbers as an identifier outside of FAFSA administration. 
3. The Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria preventing any student from receiving federal financial aid. 
4. Frontloading of the PELL Grant. 
5. Filing fees for financial aid programs. 
6. Limiting the semesters of eligibility for the Pell Grant. 
7. Limiting borrowers to a one-time consolidation. 
8. Repeal of the “90/10” rule. 

Article III: State Legislative Issues

Section A: Bonding 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Exempting Minnesota State from the one-third debt service requirement for capital bonds. 
2. The use of Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funds to allow campuses to engage in demolition and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
3. A bonding bill in which Minnesota State receives a significant investment in building construction/repair to ensure safe, quality, and sustainable facilities. 

Section B: Financial Aid and Loans 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Expanded loan forgiveness programs for individuals in public service. 
2. Allowing any increases in the Pell Grant to “pass through” the state grant formula without penalizing the student’s state grant award, or decoupling the Pell Grant from the state grant award calculation. 
3. Priority being given to public sector students over private sector students in the state grant formula. 
4. Establishing an income cap for students receiving the Minnesota State Grant. 
5. Basing Minnesota State Grant awards on the incomes of students with an accurate accounting of their family share. 
6. Allowing students to retain Minnesota State Grant program eligibility up to the completion of a baccalaureate degree. 
7. Increasing the Living and Miscellaneous Expense (LME) allowance with the cost of living. 
8. Creating a campus or Minnesota State system-based grant program. 
9. All fees to be included in the calculations of the Minnesota State Grant formula. 
10. Increased appropriations for the Minnesota State Grant. 
11. Equitable treatment of part-time students and full-time students in the state grant formula. 
12. Efforts to make any student that completed three years of high school in Minnesota eligible for all forms of financial aid. 

Section C: Reciprocity 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Legislative review of reciprocity agreements every five years. 
2. Fair reciprocity agreements with neighboring states and provinces. 
3. Requiring the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) to annually report to the legislature regarding Minnesota student’s participation in tuition reciprocity and students from other states receiving reciprocity in Minnesota. 

Section D: Tuition 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Making M.S. 135A.01 binding upon the Minnesota State Legislature, which would require the state pay at least 67% of instructional costs at all public colleges/universities, with students responsible for the remaining 33%. 
2. Affordable, predictable tuition for all public higher education students through increased appropriations from the state legislature to the Minnesota State base budget, tuition limits, and other affordability initiatives. 
3. Legislation that would make the first two years of public college tuition-free. 
4. In-state tuition rates for current and former U.S. military members, their spouses, and their dependent children. 
5. The elimination of all non-resident tuition rates. 
6. A tuition-setting model that limits tuition increases to the rate of inflation as determined by a reputable national inflation index. 

Section E: Child Care 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Allowing students to retain eligibility for the Minnesota Post-Secondary Child Care Grant program up to the completion of a baccalaureate degree. 
2. The creation and increase of childcare centers on or near campus, allowing students majoring in child care or development priority in staffing. 
3. Raising the award cap and expanding funding for the Minnesota Post-Secondary Child Care Grant program to reflect actual childcare costs. 
4. A reduction in the credits necessary to qualify for the maximum Post-Secondary Child Care Grant. 
5. Allowing Minnesota State to reallocate any unexpended work-study and Minnesota Post-Secondary Child Care Grant Program dollars amongst students at system schools before returning program funds to the OHE. 

Section F: Work-Study 

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Increased funding and expanded eligibility for the State Work-Study program. 
2. The substitution of a credit hour for a work hour to count towards the 20-hour minimum as required by the MFIP program. 
3. Lowering the working hour requirements for MFIP program pertaining to full-time students to 10 hours per week. 

Section G: Other State Issues (Advocacy, Funding, Textbooks, Technology)

MSCSA Supports: 

Advocacy: 
1. Drivers licenses for all students regardless of documentation status by legal means. 
2. Student organizations in their continued efforts to organize at the state level. Moreover, local public two-year college student governments support Minnesota State Statute 136F.22, which gives students a vehicle to advocate their concerns on higher education issues to various government entities. 
3. Lowering the legal age for running for state and local elected office to 18. 
4. The ongoing efforts and purpose of the Student Advisory Council (SAC). 
5. Continuation of same-day voter registration in Minnesota for all elections. 
6. Increased mental health and disability services in the two-year college system. 
7. Legislative and Minnesota State system efforts to close the achievement (or educational opportunity) gap in Minnesota. 
8. Establishment of P-14 coordinating efforts to ensure that marginalized communities have equal access to and ability to succeed in higher education. 
9. Increasing student and youth voting participation and civic awareness. 
10. Increased access to absentee balloting. 
11. Any legislation that makes it easier for a student to show proof of residence as it relates to voting. 

Funding: 
1. Directing state-generated gambling proceeds towards higher education. 
2. An annual refundable tax credit for higher education costs. 
3. An annual tax credit for education-related computer and book expenses. 
4. Allowing Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) participants to enroll in postsecondary education beyond 24 months while enrolled in MFIP. 
5. The consultation of SAC prior to any significant transfer of funds between the childcare, work-study and Minnesota State Grant programs by OHE. 
6. Changes in the Minnesota State Grant formula to aid part-time students. 
7. Legislation that recognizes the need of the family based on their income, rather than the cost of the institution the student attends. 
8. Continued funding and facility space for campus veteran regional coordinators and resource centers through the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs. 
9. Prioritizing the use of general obligation bonds over revenue fund bonds for the construction of new student and wellness centers at two-year colleges. 

Textbooks & Technology: 
1. Academic licenses for full software and other technology that increases access for students. 
2. Increased state appropriations to Minnesota State to offset the cost of technology and equipment at public two-year institutions. 
3. The creation and implementation of a textbook rental program or other alternative programs designed to reduce the cost of all textbooks at each college. 

MSCSA Opposes: 
1. The implementation of a voucher system in Minnesota. 
2. Sale or provision of a student’s personal information by college campuses to marketing companies or companies marketing products directly to students. 
3. Making student life fees or student association fees optional. 
4. All public transportation service cuts to any educational institutions. 
5. The bundling of textbooks with other media that is not required by the instructor of the class. 
6. Instructors receiving any gifts from publishers for using that publisher’s textbooks. 
7. All efforts to impose a high tuition/high financial aid model on public higher education. 

Article IV: Local and Campus Issues

Section A: Campus Procedures and Fees

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Credit-weighted campus registration policies that give priority to students with more accumulated credits. 
2. A working relationship between Campus Student Governments (CSGs) and their campus administration. 
3. Each enrolled student to have the right to representation and involvement in any and all campus-based decision-making. 
4. Student involvement in all campus hiring processes. 
5. Improved technology training on the system’s instructional management system and on online learning for all faculty and those that teach online/distance learning courses. 
6. A yearly evaluation on campuses, with student input, of the quality of classes offered online. 
7. Student governments conducting a yearly review of all fees. 
8. Requiring CSG approval of any campus technology and student fees increase. 
9. The allocation of Student Life dollars solely for student-approved activities. 
10. Exclusive student control over all Student Life money. 
11. All campuses create and implement an environmental sustainability plan. 
12. Requiring campus childcare centers with available openings to give priority to those students with children that are enrolled at that campus. 
13. Increased collaboration among students, staff, and faculty on Charting the Future discussion and decisions. 

Section B: Campus Bookstores 

1. Requiring that textbooks, the ISBN number, and cost of books be publicly posted on the same page where a student views their schedule at least 2-3 weeks before classes begin. 
2. The removal of non-compete agreements for campus bookstores to give students more options on campus of where they can purchase their books. 

Section C: Taxes, Financial Literacy and Voting 

1. Minnesota State and campuses providing resources to aid all students, including international students, in understanding financial literacy and filing state and federal tax returns. 
2. System-wide digital and financial literacy trainings that each campus would provide at no cost to students. 
3. The right of students to conduct voter registration campaigns on campus with support from the administration and without interference. 
4. Locating polling stations on campuses with enrollments of 500 full year equivalent (FYE) or more. 
5. Campus administrations’ compliance with Minn. Stat. 201.1611 and the federal Higher Education Act, which require colleges to provide voter registration cards. 

Section D: Work-study 

1. Setting wages for on-campus and/or off-campus work-study/student workers at a rate above the minimum wage. 

Section E: Diversity and ADA Compliance 

1. Culturally diverse and relevant educational activities at its conferences and on all Minnesota State campuses. 
2. Cultural, diversity, and disability sensitivity programming at its conferences and on Minnesota State campuses. 
3. The development of diversity plans on Minnesota State campuses. 
4. Creation of a diversity officer position in each student senate. 
5. Annual review to ensure campus compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Section F: Health Care 

1. Students having easy access to affordable and quality health care at all public two-year colleges through the campus health service.
2. Availability of an anonymous, student-led space with available personnel and resources on all campuses for students recovering from addiction, compulsive behaviors, and mental health issues. 
3. Mental health providers on all campuses. 

Section G: Other 

1. The Minnesota Open Meeting law (M.S. 471.705). 
2. The utilization of awareness programs on campus to aid in protecting students. 
3. Initiatives to increase awareness of MSCSA and its mission across all campuses. 
4. Identifying existing single-stall campus restrooms with gender-neutral signage. 

MSCSA Opposes: 
1. Any fee charged against cashing, accessing, or spending financial aid, state grant, student payroll, or stipend funds. 
2. Any legislation that restricts a student’s ability to vote at the precinct in which they currently reside. 
3. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious beliefs, sex, gender (identity and expression), sexual orientation, veterans’ status, marital status, ethnic or national origin, immigration status, age, mental or physical disability status, social class, receipt of public assistance, or any other group, status or class against which discrimination could occur.” 
4. Using student technology fees to fund technology improvements purchases not directly beneficial or accessible to all students. 
5. Mandating the off-campus purchase of laptops and equipment valued over $200.00 before financial aid is disbursed. 
6. Higher tuition costs and fees for taking online or distance classes. 

Article V: International

MSCSA Supports: 
1. Legislation that clarifies the collection process of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. 
2. International students obtaining a temporary social security number regardless of work status. 
3. Campuses utilizing their existing discretionary authority (as described in Minnesota State Board Policy 2.2, Part 2, Subpart C, #7) to grant “in-state” tuition rates to international students. 
4. International students paying in-state tuition after obtaining residency in Minnesota for 12 consecutive months. 
5. Improved campus-level advising services for international students. 
6. International students and the integral diversity and global perspectives they bring to a campus community. 
7. Minnesota State and campuses providing resources to aid international students in understanding and filing state and federal tax returns. 

MSCSA Opposes: 
1. The collection of the SEVIS fee from international students. 

Article VI: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (Minnesota State)

MSCSA Supports: 
1. The continuation of three voting student members on the Minnesota State Board of Trustees. 
2. Allowing the statewide student associations to appoint their respective student trustees to the Minnesota State Board of Trustees. 
3. A fair allocation model that provides accessibility to affordable and quality educational programs for all students attending Minnesota’s public two-year colleges. 
4. Minnesota State institutions utilizing their full allocation of student work-study and childcare dollars to avoid any return of unused funds to OHE. 
5. The promotion of off-campus work-study and internship opportunities with nonprofit and for-profit groups. 
6. The Board of Trustees’ enforcement of Minnesota State policies requiring student representation on all committees that affect students. 
7. Appointing two students to presidential search committees. 
8. A mandatory notification period of no less than two weeks for the appointment of student representatives to campus committees whose work directly affects students before committee work can begin. 
9. Penalty-free deferments of tuition payments. 
10. The appointment of at least one member of MSCSA to Vice Chancellor or Chancellor Search Committees. 
11. That the Minnesota State Board of Trustees consults with the statewide student associations on its evaluation of the Chancellor. 
12. CSGs reporting to the Board of Trustees on the consultation process between the CSG and campus administration, particularly regarding CSG approval or non-approval of campus tuition proposals. 
13. Increased accountability of chief campus administrators. 
14. That campus reserves not exceed 5% of its yearly general operating revenue and any balance over 5% be used to reduce future tuition increases. 
15. That student activity fees be spent exclusively on student-approved activities. 
16. That CSGs have exclusive authority over all student fee derived revenues. 
17. The continuation of Minnesota State Board Policy 2.3 and Procedure 2.3.1 as they relate to student involvement in decision making. 
18. The right of students to be recognized and heard in all matters as they relate to decision-making with regard to the fulfillment of their higher education. 
19. A system-wide application process with a one-time fee. 
20. Allowing students to evaluate instructors no less than once per semester and requiring colleges to follow up with instructors who receive poor evaluations. 
21. A uniform instructor evaluation process within all Minnesota State institutions. 
22. Universal transfer of all academic credits between Minnesota State colleges, the University of Minnesota, and the private college system. 
23. Seamless transfer of all academic credits between all Minnesota State institutions, standardized equivalencies across all Minnesota State schools, and policies aimed at simplifying the transfer process. 
24. Collaboration between Minnesota State and other educational institutions to improve international and interstate credit transfer. 
25. Seamless registration and financial aid for Minnesota State students that are transfer students within the Minnesota State system or concurrently enrolled in more than one Minnesota State institution. 
26. Efforts aimed at limiting students’ out-of- pocket costs for textbooks and other instructional materials. 
27. Ensuring that textbooks and other instructional materials are easily accessible in a variety of formats to all students. 
28. Statewide maximums for all student fees levied by campuses. 
29. Development of system-wide criteria for setting differential tuition rates. 
30. Expanded availability of discounted and free software licenses and information technology support for Minnesota State students. 
31. Expanded healthcare coverage options for students and widespread marketing of available policy options. 
32. Mandatory system-wide training or proficiency standards for all faculty regarding best practices for teaching online classes. 
33. System-wide quality standards for online and hybrid classes. 
34. Consultation with MSCSA leadership and local students on all revenue fund projects proposed for the next 5-10 years. 
35. Access to low-cost or free online Adult Basic Education courses to meet developmental education requirements. 
36. Appropriate classification within policy which recognizes and assists in the language learning needs of ESL students to ensure that students have adequate time for the translation of assignments, test, and quizzes. 
37. Increased collaboration to facilitate successful transitions from all K-12 schools to colleges within Minnesota State. 
38. Strengthening the role of the Campus Chief Diversity Officer to ensure direct reporting to their respective Campus President. 
39. Adequate funding of academic advising programs to increase retention, speed of graduation, and student satisfaction across Minnesota State. 
40. Adequate security staffing and equipment to ensure student safety at Minnesota State campuses. 
41. Training for students, campus staff, and faculty around bullying and domestic violence. 
42. The creation and expansion of Bachelor of Applied Science degrees. 
43. Sexual assault and harassment prevention and response training for staff, faculty, and students. 
44. Campuses providing funding, space, and support for student cultural centers and safe spaces to access resources and facilitate discussions. 
45. Efforts by Minnesota State to provide high quality, affordable options for textbooks and other learning materials for students. 
46. Requiring campus administration to provide more specific budget information around campus budgets and strengthening the role students play in the budgeting process. 
47. Campus websites providing a link to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s voter registration website. 
48. Removal of failure for nonattendance notation from transcripts when a student later retakes and successfully completes the course. 
49. Structured loan counseling available for students. 
50. Blue light assistance towers and emergency lights to ensure the safety of students on campus and the surrounding community. 

MSCSA Opposes: 
1. Campuses mandating full payment of tuition prior to the first day of class. 
2. Fees for dropping/adding classes prior to the first day of class. 
3. Collecting fees and/or mandatory costs to support mandatory health insurance plans for students. 
4. Construction of revenue fund projects without local student support. 
5. Any third-party product or service that would hinder a student’s access to education. 

Article VII: Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA)

MSCSA Priorities: 
1. Tuition relief, affordable textbooks, and maintaining/enhancing student services shall be the budgetary priorities for MSCSA. 

 

** Last reviewed and modified at the 2016 Fall General Assembly, Effective: October 18, 2016.