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Grants Announced to Address Gaps in Postsecondary Attainment

Governor Dayton's "Equity in Attainment and Job Connection Grant program" rolled out



Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

Three Minnesota State colleges have been awarded funding for programs designed to help more students of color complete a postsecondary education and find a job.

The Equity in Attainment and Job Connection Grant Program, proposed and signed into law by Governor Dayton last year, provides funding for proposals focused on improving postsecondary success and employment outcomes for students historically underrepresented in higher education.

"Minnesota's highly educated and productive citizens have always driven our state's economic growth and quality of life," said Governor Mark Dayton. "The Equity in Attainment and Job Connection Grant Program will help ensure that more Minnesotans get the education they need for better career opportunities in the future."

"Minnesota's forecasted workforce shortage of 100,000 people by 2020 underscores the importance of closing postsecondary education attainment gaps," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. "Ensuring that every student receives the support he or she needs to graduate and get a great job is essential if we want to build an economy that works for everyone, everywhere in Minnesota. This student support brings us a step closer to this goal."

"Recent data indicates that more students of color are enrolling in college, but completion rates for students of color continue to lag by as much as 20%," said Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE). "These gaps in completion follow students into the workplace, decreasing the odds they'll find good-paying jobs."

The following schools have been awarded funding under the Equity in Attainment and Job Connection Grant Program:

Saint Paul College: "Guided Pathways Advising at Saint Paul College"

  • Serves students of color who are enrolled in developmental education courses through proactive advising and continued support to help them succeed in college-level courses, persist through postsecondary education programs and secure related employment.

Riverland Community College, Austin: "Closing the Achievement Gap by Improving Retention and Completion"

  • Serves racially/ethnically diverse students through proactive advising, academic support services and performance based scholarships.

Minnesota State University, Mankato: "Guiding Pathways to Success (GPS) for Underrepresented Students"

  • Serves historically underrepresented first-year students through college and career coaching and increased knowledge of campus-based resources, increasing their social and campus integration.

In 2015, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature enacted legislation setting a target that 70 percent of Minnesota adults age 25 to 44 will have attained a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025. According to data collected by OHE and the State Demographer's office, attainment rates for White and Asian students are over 60%, while rates for Black students are at 35%, Hispanic students are at 24%, and the attainment rate for American Indian students is 21%.

For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902 or by email at

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