Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
St. Paul, MN Whether deciding the benefits of attending college or a university, seeking advice on the program of study matching career aspirations, or to find out more about the postsecondary institutions available in Minnesota and how to pay for tuition, everyone can receive the support needed at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education's (MOHE) booth at the State Fair.
Located in the Education building on Snelling Avenue, MOHE's booth is staffed by the agency experts working in these areas and college students with rich personal experience both in choosing an institution and the types of financial aid available.
"Investing in education beyond high school is one of the single most supportive actions a person can take to secure their futureboth personally and economically. We are fortunate here in Minnesota to have a wealth of certificate and degree programs and many excellent institutions of higher education for people to select," said Dr. Sheila Wright, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "The absolute best advice I can provide to those interested in pursuing studies beyond high school is to seek advice early for making the right choice and support needed for postsecondary success."
According to Dr. Wright, it is never too early to share the value and importance of learning. In planning for college, she recommends starting as young as third grade to expose children to the campus life so that they can experience what it is like and see themselves there (attend a campus event, visit relative, etc.). "As early as 13, encourage adolescents to talk with school counselors and others about college, explore possible careers, gather feedback about their strengths and interests (e.g., take the ACT), and explore college websites for information about programs related to their career aspirations.
However, paying for college is often the most daunting challenge. "Students entering high school can begin now to complete the FAFSA and explore options for financial aid" said Wright.
"In just a few short years, 70% of jobs will rely heavily on technology and require postsecondary completion. At a time when we need more citizens entering college, we also know that more and more our citizens have less money to pay and are considering less expensive options (e.g., beginning at a two-year college, living off campus, or living at home). As a State, we simply have to do more to support the success for all Minnesotans."
Wright commented that staff members in MOHE's Gear Up/Get Ready program frequently discuss with high school students how to pay for college. MOHE staff also note the millions of scholarship dollars that go unclaimed every year and point to information online at www.fast web.com.
The OHE booth at the State Fair will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.