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Students host forum on student debt, guest speaker Rep. Omar

Representative Ilhan Omar
Representative Ilhan Omar with MCTC

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 15, 2017 – Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Student Senate and the Community Development Student Organization co-hosted a forum on campus to encourage awareness about the rising cost of tuition and student debt. Close to 100 students participated in the forum, which featured guest speaker Representative Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim lawmaker in the United States. Students also engaged in roundtable discussions about the impact of the cost of education on their lives and signed a petition regarding college tuition, which will be taken by Representative Omar to legislators later this month.

Group of students
Students sharing their stories at the forum

“The event provided a great opportunity for a state legislator to hear the voices of college students about the challenges of paying for higher education,” said Dr. Sharon Pierce, MCTC president, who expressed appreciation for Representative Omar’s commitment to affordable college and economic equality. “We are pleased to host Representative Omar, and to see that our students are demonstrating civic engagement.”

According to Representative Omar, education is an important issue for every generation. “I believe education is the best equalizer in our society,” said Representative Omar, who has begun hosting ‘Coffee and Kulan’ forums to engage with the community. “While I am in office, I promise to work on policies that further the common good and help people understand that legislators work for them. As constituents, it’s important for you to be able to recognize what’s within your power to change.”

Representative Omar reported to students that she already co-signed a bill, authored by Representative Jennifer Schultz, to pilot a tuition relief grant program. “I’m interested in taking a closer look to see if students are being taken care of and in making sure they get out of their education what they need, without the burden of college debt,” said Representative Omar.