The MCTC News Blog

MnSCU Offers an Alternative to High Tuition

Posted on: October 27th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments


This article originally appeared in the Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 edition of the Star Tribune

An Oct. 18 article (“Private colleges try to soften $50-60K ‘sticker shock’  ”) reports that the most expensive college in the state now tops $60,000 per year and that four other private colleges are close behind.

Even if financial aid reduced the cost by 50 percent — as many private colleges say is possible — we’re still talking about an undergraduate degree that costs $100,000 or more.

What the article doesn’t mention is that there is a much more affordable way to get an exceptional education in just about any area of study — 555 different programs, to be exact — in a wide range of liberal arts and technical fields.

As its name implies, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is a system of seven universities and 24 community and technical colleges throughout the state. The average cost of tuition is $5,399 per year at the colleges and $7,999 per year at the universities — and that is before financial aid is applied. Students who come from families with less than $20,000 in annual income pay only $525 in tuition per year at our colleges and $841 per year at our universities, while families with annual income of less than $40,000 pay $1,097 per year at our colleges and $1,409 at our universities. At these rates, a quality education is accessible to anyone who has a dream of a better future.

Outstanding higher education doesn’t have to cost $60,000 a year. We encourage students and their families to explore all their higher-education options, including the high-quality, more-affordable options available on the campuses of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Devinder Malhotra, president of Metropolitan State University and Avelino Mill-Novoa, president of Minneapolis Community and Technical College


MCTC Tuition Freeze Enters Third Year

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Tuition FreezeTuition at MCTC for the 2015-2016 academic year will remain frozen for the third year. The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) recently approved its budget and tuition rates that include a freeze for all two-year colleges.

“Next academic year and the academic year after, by any measure our colleges and universities will continue to be the highest value, most affordable higher education option in Minnesota,” said Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

According to a press release from MnSCU, the freeze was made possible by the $100 million in state-funded tuition relief for MnSCU institutions included in the Higher Education bill passed during the recent legislative session. In addition to the freeze this academic year, tuition next year will decrease by one percent due to increases to the federal Pell Grant and Minnesota state grant programs.

The application deadline for the fall 2015 semester is August 14. Click here to apply. Current students can click here to register for classes.

College Visited by U.S. Sec. of Labor Thomas E. Perez

Posted on: May 28th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Secretary PerezMinneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) was honored to host U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez this week for a roundtable discussion with some of the Twin Cities leaders in business, education and technical careers in light of a nationwide push for tuition relief programs for community colleges.

During the event, co-hosted by Scholarship America with discussion moderation by their CEO Lauren Segal, Secretary Perez was joined by Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, former mayor R.T. Rybak, Sen. Terri Bonoff, Rep. Frank Hornstein and other business and community leaders for an hour-long roundtable held at MCTC. Speakers discussed the need for community and technical college tuition relief in line with President Barack Obama’s proposed America’s College Promise. “The President’s ‘America’s College Promise’ is about making higher education accessible to everyone,” said Secretary Perez. “Our discussion today is about a movement. We want to create a movement to make sure this is a nation in which everybody gets the education they need for their job, whether it’s a job as a CNC machinist at Graco or a job in IT.”

The Secretary’s visit comes at the closure of the Minnesota legislative session, in which a proposal to fund a state-level tuition relief program for community and technical colleges passed with $100 million in biennium funding. Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, the Minnesota legislator who introduced the legislation, shared his inspiration for the proposal with roundtable attendees. “Minnesotans love education,” he said. “Education is the tool with which we’ve been able to keep the state’s economy going.”

MCTC and partners Saint Paul College and Metropolitan State University lead the way in statewide tuition relief programs, boasting several programs including one of the state’s first Power of YOU programs offering free tuition to qualifying first-generation high school students, a partnership with Hennepin County, and the fledgling Destination Diploma to Degree (D3) program. “We’re looking at career pathways from high school to postsecondary institutions,” said Sarah Caruso, president and CEO of the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

“Partnerships like D3 incorporate an understanding of the depth and complexity young people face as they consider college.” The D3 program places qualifying students from alternative high schools in relevant college classes, and recently received support from the United Way to grow its program beyond its initial launch.

“We are making college relevant for high schoolers,” said Pam Costain, president and CEO of AchieveMpls. “Minnesota is a national leader in youth employment and internships, making college relevant for high schoolers. I’m intrigued by the movement-building approach of the Secretary. It would require all of us in the room to collaborate with each other.”

“I think we’re making a mistake by assuming grade 12 is an end point,” said MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa. “We should shift our mindset so that instead of K-12, P-14 is the base level of education we expect. If we don’t prepare young people to step into jobs, we’ll all suffer.”

See photos from the roundtable and press conference on Flickr. Coverage of Sec. Perez’s visit was also published in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Downtown Journal.

Photo: Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez

Who Benefits the Most from “Free” College Tuition? (Article from the Star Tribune)

Posted on: January 29th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

This article was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Jan. 28, 2015. Read the full story here.

Who benefits the most from ‘free’ college tuition?

Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune | Updated: January 28, 2015

Thulani Jwacu understands the power of the word “free.”

When he makes his pitch to low-income teenagers, he can see their eyes light up.

If they go to community college, he tells them, “you don’t have to worry about paying for tuition.”

That, he said, is when they start paying attention.

As an adviser at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Jwacu said he’s thrilled that politicians are starting to talk about making community college free for all.

In practice, more than 30,000 community college students in Minnesota already qualify for enough government assistance to pay their tuition and fees in full, according to state data. In 2013, that meant about a third of the freshmen at those colleges essentially got their education “for free.”

If the sticker price at Minnesota community colleges — about $5,400 a year — dropped to zero, advocates say, that would inspire even more people to get a college education.

But experts caution that free tuition isn’t enough to guarantee success; and that such a change could end up doing more for well-off families than needier ones.

“The irony is that it would probably benefit middle- and upper-income people,” said John (Chuck) Chalberg, a history teacher at Normandale Community College. “They’re the ones that aren’t getting the aid, and now they would.”

The proposals, which were floated recently by the White House and Senate DFL leaders in Minnesota, are both designed to lower the barrier to college, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, a University of Wisconsin professor who is credited with inspiring President Obama’s plan, estimated to cost $6 billion a year.

“Yes, community college tuition is virtually free for very poor people right now,” she acknowledged. But “middle-class [students] are dropping out of college at higher rates than ever before. So helping middle-class kids … is not a bad thing.”

At the same time, she’s skeptical that community colleges, which draw a disproportionate number of low-income students, would suddenly be flooded with the wealthy.

DFL Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, the sponsor of the free-tuition proposal in the Minnesota Senate, said his goal is to nudge students who think they can’t afford college, especially in low-income and rural areas, to give it a try.

One option, he said, may be to include a cap on family income.

Gov. Mark Dayton did not include free community college tuition in his budget proposal this week. Instead, he withheld any recommendation on a funding increase for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities until March, in hopes that administrators and faculty leaders resolve a dispute over a strategic plan for the system, which includes state community colleges.

Since 2006, the community colleges in Minneapolis and St. Paul have offered free tuition to high school graduates in both cities through a program called Power of You, which is limited to families earning $75,000 or less. At first, both two-year colleges saw a surge in enrollment; but only 8 percent of those students had finished three years later, a 2009 Wilder Foundation study found.

As a result, the colleges began working even more intensively with those students, said Kristine Snyder, the dean in charge of the program at MCTC. “We make them come in three times a semester,” she said. Advisers spend a lot of time coaching them on what they need to do to finish — or transfer — on time.

With all the extra attention, the graduation rate has crept up, to 13 percent. But more important, Snyder says, students are sticking with the program, and making progress toward their degrees.

Many of those students, she noted, wouldn’t have attempted college in the past. “Everyone is worried because we need a skilled labor force,” she said. To her, free tuition is a way to meet that need.

“I think all these kinds of conversations help to shift the narrative of who college is for, and why.”

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

MnSCU Tuition Freeze Enters Second Year

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Tuition FreezeThis upcoming 2014-2015 academic school year, tuition throughout the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, including MCTC, will remain frozen. This is the second year of a two-year promise by MnSCU to keep tuition unchanged for its more than 200,000 students.

“The benefits of freezing undergraduate tuition for the second year in a row continue to make MnSCU colleges and universities the lowest cost, highest value higher education option in the state of Minnesota,” MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone said.

Rosenstone expressed his gratitude for Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature for creating the $52.5 million in the budget to make the freeze possible. The budget last year had initially proposed a three percent tuition increase before the state funding. Due to the freeze, MnSCU expects tuition revenue to decrease.

According to a press release from MnSCU, student fees are expected to increase by less than 0.5 percent. As part of the freeze, faculty and staff have received a 2.6 percent compensation increase.

Dayton’s improved access to state grants and federal grants increasing will help students pay less out of pocket this school year.

“The combination of the tuition freeze and the changes to the state grant program will, on average, actually lower the cost of tuition for MnSCU students receiving a state grant in the 2014-15 academic year,” Rosenstone said.

Click here to see the current tuition rates at MCTC.

The application deadline for the fall 2014 semester is August 8. Click here to apply. Current students can click here to register for classes.