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Minnesota schools guarantee admission to community college transfers

Twelve institutions have partnered with the Minnesota Private Colleges organization to ease the process for community college students looking to transfer to a four-year school.

Brick sign of Concordia College among fall foliage
Concordia College in Moorhead.
Forum file photo
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Concordia College of Moorhead

MOORHEAD, Minn. — More community college students in Minnesota could have the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree at a four-year school under a new partnership.

The Minnesota Private Colleges organization has teamed up with 12 private schools in the state to help ease the process for those students to transfer and be admitted.

Under the new partnership, admission is guaranteed at the 12 participating schools for community college students who’ve completed an associate of arts degree and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC).

Students also must meet eligibility criteria for the school they plan to attend, and the school must have available capacity within the intended major. The plan is aiming for clearer options, fewer worries and more time for transfer students to plan for what’s next.

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Judy Johnson, assistant director of admission and transfer at the Minnesota Private College Council, said the grant-funded partnership has been several years in the making.

“Students can transfer knowing that their general education credits will all transfer and meet requirements at our institutions,” she said.

Of Minnesota’s 18 private colleges and universities, these 12 are participating in the transfer admission guarantee:

  • Augsburg University
  • Bethany Lutheran College
  • Bethel University
  • College of Saint Benedict
  • The College of St. Scholastica
  • Concordia College, Moorhead
  • Concordia University, St. Paul
  • Hamline University
  • St. John’s University
  • St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
  • St. Catherine University
  • University of St. Thomas

Mike Vandenberg, director of recruitment at Concordia College, said Concordia admitted a total of about 80 transfer students in the fall of 2022 and 2021, and the school hopes to have more community college transfers on campus.
“The perspective that they bring, the academic experience … the life experience … adds a richness to the campus that we're really excited about,” Vandenberg said.

A boost in enrollment is one expected benefit for each participating school.

“Students know it'll be transfer friendly," Johnson said. "And they can finish in two years."

Each participating school has its own admission criteria, including grade requirements and whether or not they accept transfer students from outside of Minnesota.

Students are eligible to transfer if their cumulative grade point averages range from 2.0 to 3.0, depending on the participating institution.

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Vandenberg said Concordia requires a transfer student to have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 and an associate of arts degree.

For students concerned about the cost differential going from a community college to a private school, Vandenberg said Concordia offers “fairly robust” transfer scholarships.

This spring, those scholarships will amount to up to $12,000 per year and in the fall, they go up to $16,000 per year, he said.

Still, transfer students are encouraged to file with FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to see if they qualify for additional financial aid they weren’t eligible for at a community college because the cost was lower.

Vandenberg advises students to know bottom-line costs when comparing schools.

“Oftentimes, we see that we're very close to the other schools and sometimes we maybe even are a little bit better,” he said.

Johnson said the overall goal is for more students in the state to complete their four-year degrees in a cost and time efficient manner.

Huebner is a 35+ year veteran of broadcast and print journalism in Fargo-Moorhead.
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