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MN Reconnect


The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) and Minnesota State are partnering to develop a new pilot program to support adult learners called MN Reconnect.

The pilot program is made possible by financial and technical support from the Lumina Foundation and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). The four-year grant will support Minnesota State students who return to college to earn a credential of economic value after an absence of two or more years. MN Reconnect focuses on encouraging students who have some college credits but no degree to return to college using financial incentives, addressing barriers, and providing one-on-one support. Similar programs are underway in Tennessee and Indiana. New pilot programs are launching in Maine, Washington and Oklahoma.

MN Reconnect has four components:

  1. Targeted outreach and re-enrollment of former Minnesota State students
  2. Navigation and support in the re-enrollment process
  3. Targeted financial assistance, including emergency grants, and
  4. Program evaluation

Eligible Institutions

Minnesota State Colleges (two-year public institutions) are eligible to apply to participate in the pilot program. Up to four institutions, representing both Greater MN and Twin Cities, will be selected to participate in the pilot program beginning January 1, 2018 (student enrollment commencing fall 2018).

Participating institutions will receive financial and technical assistance for outreach, re-enrollment assistance, student support/staff, and program evaluation. Students will receive funds to assist them in completing an undergraduate program, campus-level staff support, and other assistance in overcoming barriers to completion. Funding is provided by the Lumina Foundation and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for the period January 1, 2018  June 30, 2020 with funds for students being available beginning in Fall 2018 upon legislative approval of funds transfer.

Participating pilot institutions (collectively) will support an estimated 500 returning adult learners. Each participating student will receive an annual grant of up to $2,000 beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year in addition to all other grant assistance received by the student including federal Pell Grant and Minnesota State Grants.

Participating pilot institutions will be expected to:

  1. Coordinate with system office to identify students aged 25-44 who have completed 15 college credits,
  2. Conduct targeted outreach and re-enrollment of identified former students,
  3. Provide intensive navigation for re-enrollment, degree selection and program planning, credit for prior learning (CPL), and support for completion,
  4. Offer targeted financial assistance from the grant program and offer access to any needed community resources,
  5. Assist the research staff of Minnesota State Central and the Office of Higher Education in evaluation of the program, and
  6. Develop recommendations to support Minnesota's colleges and universities in serving adult students.

Institutional Application

  • Proposal release date: November 6, 2017
  • Webinar for prospective institutions: November 9, 2017
  • Proposal due date: December 4, 2017
  • Final institutions announced: December 20, 2017

Questions about the program and the application? Email Meredith Fergus