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Gov. Pawlenty Announces Federal Funds For Program to Encourage College Readiness in Urban Schools




Sandy Connolly
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

Saint PaulGovernor Tim Pawlenty today announced that Minnesota will receive $15 million over six years from the U.S. Department of Education to continue and expand a program in seven elementary and middle schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul to improve students' chances for college participation and success.

"The new Minnesota expectation must be that every child pursues college or some post-high school education or training beyond high school," said Governor Pawlenty. "These efforts to raise the bar and help all kids understand what it takes to realize their dreams do pay off."

Minnesota's Get Ready program, run by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, will engage students from primarily low-income families in a postsecondary planning program that includes college visits, tutoring and academic enrichment, career exploration and other activities. Participating schools are Hans Christian Andersen Elementary School, Hans Christian Andersen Open Magnet School, Lincoln/Willard Community School in Minneapolis and Cherokee Heights West Side School of Excellence, Eastern Heights Elementary School, Homecroft Elementary School and Cleveland Quality Middle School in St. Paul. The program will also make its resources and materials available to other Minnesota schools that have high percentages of low-income students.

Federal funding is awarded to the state through the Federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) that was approved by congress. The Office of Higher Education secured matching state and other funds as part of its grant application. Minnesota was one of 26 state grantees. St. Olaf College received a separate grant from GEAR UP to provide outreach to students in certain St. Paul schools.

"We are so pleased to be able to continue and expand this important program," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Office of Higher Education. "It's clear that the program is having an impact on the lives of students. With continued funding, we can follow students over time, measure their progress, demonstrate success and continuously improve the program.

With renewed funding, the Office of Higher Education plans to expand the Get Ready program to include students in two urban high schools within two years.

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