Author Topic: Student Lobby Groups?  (Read 943 times)

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Offline pmp6nl

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Student Lobby Groups?
« on: January 22, 2010, 06:40:46 pm »
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Although a few organizations, namely the United States Student Association (USSA) and the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC), have stepped in to fill the role of advocate and watchdog for college students, thereís still no singular student voice in the nationís capital.

Lets get that voice.


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Currently, Congress recognizes two major national student organizationsóthe United States Student Association (USSA) and the American Student Association of Community Colleges (ASACC). USSA represents four-year college and university students, while ASACC represents junior and community college students. A third organization, the State Student Association Alliance (SSAA), is attempting to unite statewide student associations and lobby organizations.

Have many students heard about the organizations?  I am involved in student issues and student government stuff and I have never heard of any of these.  Is that just because of where I am, maybe there isnt much knowledge of these in ND?

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American Student Association of Community Colleges
With a membership of 220 community colleges, ASACC lobbies Congress to make the Pell Grant automatic for every full-time student living at or below the poverty line, and allow students to be classified as independents two years earlier than currently allowed.

Contact: www.asacc.org

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State Student Association Alliance
Created in 1998, SSAAís goal is to improve existing state student associations and develop new ones where there is substantial student interest. The current SSAA network of 35 student associations is able to share information and learn from each other. The SSAA asserts that the key to having effective student associations is having a well-trained staff. It provides training for executive directors, and national organizer staff training.

Contact: http://sygov.swadm.alaska.edu/ssaa

Their website is down, are they still active?  This sounds like a good idea.  Why is the North Dakota Student Association not a member?

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United States Student Association
Founded in 1947, USSA is the nationís oldest student organization. It represents the voice of students at 200 four-year colleges and universities, such as the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. USSAís goal is to expand access to education by tracking and lobbying federal legislators and organizing students to participate in the political process.

Contact: www.usstudents.org

Is this organization well known in other states?



There is a pretty good article on this very topic at http://www.studentleader.com/Inactive%20pages/slfall2002_national_lobby_groups.htm

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Elected officials often ignore students because they donít donate much money to campaigns and only a small percentage vote, Valentin says. The average student may be unaware of issues in higher education that affects him, so a national student organization could represent his interests.

Yes, so lets get it done.  We are way behind a lot of other interest groups, look how much the AARP does, we need a group with as much influence.  I think its sad that tuition rates continue to skyrocket, as do books.  That the government thinks that default fees are needed on federal student loans, though its impossible to escape your student debt, or even that the loans made available are often too little and have relatively high interest rates.  And the issues go on and on... Where is the voice?

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The problem with existing national groups is that, although they lobby on national issues, they donít represent a majority of the nationís colleges as members. "You canít claim to represent students when a good portion of student associations arenít affiliated with your group,"

So lets fix it.  Figure out a "formula" that works.

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Beyond just connecting student leaders and state alliances, Donathan says such an organization should provide access to information on training and development of individual and state groups.

That would be nice.  That way each group doesnt have to waste time reinventing the wheel.


What will it take to get all of this going?  Would it be good to mold a current organization into a truly national organization as was described in the article or does a new one need to be started?  How do we get the movement going?

Or do students simply not care?
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: Student Lobby Groups?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 07:37:03 pm »
In such a low-population state as North Dakota, students probably have a great deal more impact than in other places (especially considering the aging population). 

I've never heard of these associations either.  What I worry about with such a lobbying group is how long before it gets co-opted by special interests within the student bodies it represents.  What are we asking for from the federal government that we can't get by having a solid student association at a state level? 

There's a lot going on here.  Where did you get the first section of quotations?
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: Student Lobby Groups?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 07:53:39 pm »
That is true about ND.  Its too bad we dont have a stronger student association. 

All of the content above was from the article http://www.studentleader.com/Inactive%20pages/slfall2002_national_lobby_groups.htm

They did make mention of the special interests as being a problem with national groups.  I think they biggest thing would be financial aid, in my opinion it needs to be thrown out and rebuilt from the ground up.  The stafford loan program is from a very different era... they may have made changes but its not enough in my opinion.  I know there is a lot of discussion between what should be done at the federal level and the state level, but I think the federal government should be involved in higher education more.  Being as higher education has such an impact on the nation as a whole.  I think we need to look at the models of some other countries, why are they so successful in some areas that we are not?

Maybe we just need to reanalyze higher education as a whole.  Maybe with some general guidelines at the federal level, but more specific guidelines at the state and local levels..?  Some standardization would be nice for transferring classes, but we need to make sure we are not limiting the individuality of each school or professor.

I guess I would wonder if such an organization would stay specifically focused directly on higher education or would it allow for topics that have an impact on college students (IE: housing laws, voting things, etc.)... then that gets back to keeping away from special interests.


I dont know...
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