St. Paul, Minn., February 14, 2019 — Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation has been awarded a $300,000 grant over 2 years by the Otto Bremer Trust, to provide academic support for the Make it Count program to help first time adult learners seeking certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees at Saint Paul College. Otto Bremer Trust has invested in diverse and dynamic organizations that work closely with individuals and communities to address identified needs and opportunities.
“The grant that Otto Bremer Trust has so generously funded for our Make it Count program will continue to make an impact on the lives of our students. It is imperative that anyone who has the desire to go to college, has the opportunity,” said Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd, president/CEO of Saint Paul College. “The trajectory of the lives of adult learners in this program will be forever changed. They will receive the education and highly-marketable skills they will need to graduate and go on to gainful employment, earning a livable wage. The College and our students are indebted to the financial and civic commitment of such partners as Otto Bremer Trust that contribute to a more equitable society, toward a future where such educational disparities will no longer exist.”
The Saint Paul College Make it Count program was created specifically for first-time college adult learners and covers the cost of tuition and fees for up to 60 credits, for a maximum of three years, at Saint Paul College through grants and private scholarships as a full or part-time student. This program supports as many underserved students as possible based on student need and funds available for the program. At Saint Paul College, the average student age is 26, with 47% of students over the age of 24, and 65% are students of color, making the College one of the most diverse colleges in Minnesota.
“We were attracted to the Make it Count program because it has been successful in reaching underserved adults who have the desire to go to college but lack the financial means to do so,” said Charlotte Johnson, co-CEO and trustee, Otto Bremer Trust. “A college degree can help set graduates up for success and lead them to become active participants in society.”
Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation is committed to matching the Otto Bremer Trust grant amount over 2 years through fundraising and individual donations that will fund the hiring of two full-time Make it Count program navigators to assist adult learners through activities aimed to support students from college application through college graduation, increase enrollment, academic persistence and help students explore career opportunities.
Currently, 61 students aged 24+ are enrolled in Make it Count, tuition-free, with additional support and services provided. Saint Paul College proposes to expand the Make it Count program and address the greater disparity of students of color receiving postsecondary access and a decreased enrollment trend at Saint Paul College within non-traditionally aged learners. The Make it Count program was designed with non-traditional aged students in mind to address workforce needs and educational disparities while addressing the real life barriers this cohort of learners experiences. Make it Count encourages persistence through proactive academic and career support, preparing them to be qualified, productive members of a highly-educated workforce upon graduation. Many Make it Count students are working full-time, juggling family responsibilities, have prior education struggles, first generation status, feeling out of place and lack of confidence in an educational setting.
About the Otto Bremer Trust
The Otto Bremer Trust, based in St. Paul, Minn., is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $700 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and western Wisconsin. Visit
About Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation
Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps Saint Paul College students through: Scholarships, emergency funds, and program support. The Foundation’s mission is to advance the mission of Saint Paul College by inspiring philanthropic giving to promote student success. Our vision is to transform lives by making college accessible for all students. Visit
About Saint Paul College
Saint Paul College—A Community & Technical College is part of
Minnesota State, the fourth largest system of state colleges and universities in the nation with 30 colleges and 7 universities. Saint Paul College was established in 1910, and is the only public 2-year college in St. Paul, MN, offering over 120 different degree, diploma and certificate programs in the areas of liberal arts, STEM, business, health sciences, service, and career and technical education:
Major Gifts Officer, Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation