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MN Reconnect added to state law to help adult learners get back in the classroom and complete their college degree


News Release
June 4, 2019

Contact: Fiorella Gallia (651) 259-3971


Adult learners will receive expanded support through participating MinnState campuses

ST. PAUL - Efforts to help adults return to college and complete their education will continue under legislation signed into law this week by Governor Tim Walz.

The MN Reconnect program, launched in fall 2018, helps returning adults finish their education through a variety of services, including scholarships, grants to remove student financial holds, and improved campus services and mentoring. The new funding will allow MN Reconnect to continue at four current locations, and offers a strong foundation for further expansion of the program.

"I have seen first-hand the impact this program is having on the lives of students who want to complete their education, but for a variety of reasons, have never been able to," said Commissioner Dennis Olson, Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE). "In addition to removing some financial barriers, support such as help with scheduling, staying on track with deadlines and even just encouragement can make all the difference."

The higher education bill provides $2 million for the MN Reconnect program for academic years 2019-2020 and secures ongoing support to adult learners by adding it to state law. Colleges currently participating include: Inver Hills Community College, Lake Superior College, Riverland Community College and South Central College.

Education professionals hired as personal navigators at each participating campus work with adult learners to overcome the common barriers they may experience in a traditional college setting, such as: managing academic and career planning, scheduling and tutoring options, and accessing emergency financial aid and tuition assistance.

"By signing this bill Governor Walz is proving his commitment to meeting the needs of all Minnesota students, including those of adult learners, whose particular life circumstances can make returning to college harder than expected" said Olson. "MN Reconnect provides adult learners in Minnesota with true support to complete their degree and improve their career opportunities. The program is a strong investment in Minnesota's workforce and will generate highly-skilled professionals to advance our competitive industries."

Adult learners can take full advantage of the multiple resources available to them via MN Reconnect, from $150 million in state and federal grants for adult learners to healthcare and child-care services, plus scholarships and grants made possible by the newly-signed bill.

MN Reconnect has been designed to support adult learners who return to college to earn a degree after an absence of two or more years. Adult learners between the ages of 25 and 60, who previously earned 15 or more credits, but did not complete a college degree, and are interested in earning a certificate, diploma or associate degree at the participating colleges, should contact a navigator at the campus closest to them.

If you have questions about the MN Reconnect program, please contact Fiorella Gallia at (651) 259-3971 or by email at


MN Reconnect Program Manager: Shelly Auldrich -

Inver Hills Community College Navigator: Heidi Thury, (651) 450-3287,

Lake Superior College Navigator: Emily Chapinski, (218) 733-5983,

Riverland Community College Navigator: Amy Wagner, (507) 433-0575,

South Central College Navigator: Samantha Campa, (507) 389-7445,

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