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MnSCU Collaborative Awarded $1 Million Scholarship Grant

A collaborative of six MnSCU colleges has received a five year $1 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services under the Assets for Independence (AFI) program. The award will enable a minimum of 700 Pell-eligible students to receive additional funding for tuition and fees in a unique arrangement that encourages both private support of scholarships and student saving.

 

“Our colleges and universities are places of hope and opportunity for communities that have been traditionally underserved by higher education, including students with the greatest financial need,” said Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. “Programs like this help students cover the costs of their education and create a better future for themselves, for their families, and for their communities.”

 

Under the program, student savings of up to $960 can qualify for 150 percent matching contributions from both AFI and the college foundation for a total match of three dollars for every dollar the student saves. Participating students are required to take a course in financial management and engage in career counseling.

 

“This unique arrangement provides assistance directly to students with the greatest financial need, helps them develop financial management skills, encourages them to get in the habit of saving, and provides them with tools to make wise career decisions,” said Gail Morrison, executive director of the Inver Hills Community College foundation. “The impact of the 3:1 match is also very attractive to many donors, giving foundations a powerful tool for raising additional scholarship funds.”

 

MnSCU colleges collaborating in this program (under the name TuitionMatchMN) include Inver Hills Community College (lead institution), Dakota County Technical College, Century College, Hennepin Technical College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and Saint Paul College. Students may apply for the program beginning fall semester 2014. Initial awards will be issued fall semester 2015. Statewide, 38 percent of MnSCU students receive Pell grants.

 

Assets for Independence is a community-based approach for giving low-income families a hand up out of poverty. Utilizing existing individual and community assets, AFI strengthens communities from within through the use of matched savings accounts. Through financial education, AFI demonstrates the use and impact of saving to help low-income individuals move toward greater self-sufficiency.