The month of March was a busy one for LeadMN at the state capitol!
LeadMN Student Leaders Testify in Senate Higher Education Committee
On March 5 Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Moorhead student Senate President Josh Hansen testified in support of SF1473, a bill that would prevent online tuition costs from exceeding the cost of comparable on campus courses. LeadMN President Frankie Becerra also shared testimony in support of SF1473 from Brian Welch, a second year student at Mesabi Range College, Virginia.
The Senate Higher Education committee also heard SF1583, a bill that would cut tuition 1% at community and technical colleges during the 2019-2020 academic year and freeze it the following year.
Testifying in support of this critical legislation were:
- Frankie Becerra, LeadMN President
- Christian Huble, Minneapolis College student
- Lauren Feiersinger, Minneapolis College student (written testimony read by Ridgewater College, Hutchinson student Brandi Oleson)
- Matthew Benjamin, Minnesota State Community and Technical College Moorhead student
College Promise Bills
On March 14 the Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy committee heard SF1308, legislation to create a Minnesota College Promise Grant. LeadMN President Frankie Becerra was joined by our coalition partners Students United, and Youth Collective in testifying in support of this legislation that would help make college affordable for all Minnesotans. Robert Ballard the President and CEO of Scholarship America, and a member of the National Advisory Board of the College Promise Campaign also testified in support of the bill and the benefits of creating a college promise.
The committee also heard SF956 a bill that would provide grants to eliminate tuition costs at community and technical colleges over a ten-year period.
Hunger Free Campus Legislation Hearing
On March 20 the House Higher Education Finance and Policy committee held a hearing on HF2366, LeadMN’s Hunger Free Campus Act legislation. This legislation is intended to help raise awareness around food insecurity and connect college students with community resources that help address hunger.
LeadMN Vice President Oballa Oballa and Ridgewater College, Hutchinson student Brandi Oleson shared their personal stories on dealing with food insecurity and why this legislation is a critical first step in helping to address this issue on our college campuses. More about their testimony.
Emergency Assistance Grants and Workforce Scholarship Changes
On March 21, Matthew Snyder, the Student Senate President at Northwest Technical College testified in support of SF1851. This legislation would expand workforce scholarships to students returning from the workforce, students who are pursing degrees in high demand occupations in childcare and transportation, and allow students to utilize the scholarship for a third year if they transfer to a university.
Melissa Zaitz, a student at Anoka Technical College also testified in support of SF888 a bill that would fund Emergency Assistance for Postsecondary Students Grants. These grants can be used to help students who need immediate relief for things like housing, food, or transportation and can mean the difference between completing a degree or dropping out of school for students who face unexpected financial hardships.
If you have any questions about what is going on up at the capitol, contact LeadMN Director of Government Relations Matt Gutsch at email@example.com.