A new pilot program is encouraging adult learners in Minnesota to restart their college careers.
MN Reconnect aims to help those with prior credits re-engage with higher education at four community colleges located throughout the state.
The goal? To increase the number of Minnesotans holding degrees by making college more accessible for adults.
The campuses involved — Inver Hills Community College, Lake Superior Community College, Riverland Community College, and South Central College — were selected because they’ve already made strides in removing some of the barriers typically faced by returning students.
A few of the efforts underway include evening financial aid office hours, on-campus child care, and transportation assistance. In addition, some MN Reconnect colleges have established systems to award academic credit for prior learning and have changed their registration policies so that students can enroll for a full year of courses at a time — making it easier to plan around child care and work responsibilities.
Students in the program also receive personalized support.
“Participants in the MN Reconnect program will work one-on-one with a personal adviser, assigned to help them navigate the re-enrollment process from start to finish,” according to a recent MinnPost report. “There are four of these ‘navigators’ — one stationed at each pilot campus.”
The initiative is funded by a grant from the Lumina Foundation and focuses on students ages 25 to 44 who have been out of college at least two years. The program is starting small, but officials hope it will grow in the coming years.
“Our goal is, really, to get all colleges in Minnesota on this pathway towards serving adult learners better, especially former students,” Meredith Fergus, head of MN Reconnect, told MinnPress.
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