University of Minnesota offers new scholarship program for regional campus students – Duluth News Tribune

TWIN TOWNS — The University of Minnesota has asked the state legislature for $30 million to fund a new scholarship program, providing Minnesota residents enrolled at U of M regional campuses with thousands dollars each year.

At the March 11 board meeting, Julie Tonneson, vice president and chief budget officer, and Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, said the scholarship program New Greater Minnesota Studies is intended to attract and retain in-state students within the university. system beyond their first year.

The new scholarship program excludes the Twin Cities campus, citing a surplus of scholarships already offered. The Twin Cities campus offers scholarship programs such as the University of Minnesota Promise, the University of Minnesota Promise Plus, and the University of Minnesota Free and Reduced Tuition Program for Native Americans. Other U of M campuses have fewer scholarship programs, the administration pointed out.

Students in Duluth, Crookston, Morris and Rochester would receive $4,000 to $5,000 in the first year, with $1,000 to $2,000 for the remaining three years. The aid is estimated to reduce average Minnesota student debt by $7,000 to $11,000.

“This program would be transformational in helping us achieve our goals for enrollment, student debt levels and graduation rates,” Tonneson told the Board of Regents.

In the presentation to the Board of Regents, Tonneson and McMaster said the new scholarship program aims to support 8,500 to 9,500 students a year when fully rolled out based on current enrollment levels at each campus.

Student debt for all U of M campuses averages about $28,000 — a number Tonneson and McMaster want to reduce for middle- and low-income students.

“The program will help students graduate on time with less debt,” Tonneson said.

Administrators estimated an increase in enrollment in Duluth, Crookston, Morris and Rochester within one to two years of program launch.

Duluth Campus Enrollment Expected to Increase by 6,126; Morris was to see an increase of 882; Rochester by 470; and Crookston by 459.

In total, administrators expect enrollment to increase from 7,937 to 9,000 on campus.

“Such a generous scholarship program would likely retain more students in the state and in the UMN system,” McMaster said.

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