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M State, MSUM partner to offer savings

Minnesota State Community and Technical College is teaming up with Minnesota State University of Moorhead, to make it possible for future M State graduates to get their junior year tuition reduced at MSUM.

How you may ask? A unique new program called up2U developed by M State’s very own Paul Carney. Carney, an English instructor on M State’s Fergus Falls campus, feels that, “The project’s title has dual significance. First it signifies the transfer from the two-year college to the university, and it also conveys to students that their academic success is up to them.”

Carney sees the program as a way to improve academic quality, encourage students to complete their degrees, all while reducing their student loan debt.

Up2U will allow participating students attending any of M State’s four campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, Wadena, or online through M State’s online eCampus, the opportunity to qualify for a junior year tuition scholarship. A full tuition scholarship could mean saving more than $4,000 for an MSUM junior.

In order to qualify for a tuition scholarship, students would need to enroll in at least nine credits at M State, maintain a 2.0 grade point average, complete a transfer degree within 3 years, and enroll at MSUM to complete a four-year degree.

These GPA requirements are being based off of a sliding scale; M State and MSUM are still trying to come up with an agreement that benefits the students yet is still realistic for the University to meet. The ultimate goal for the scale is that the higher a student’s GPA is, the more money that student will receive.

The main reason M State has listed a 2.0 as the minimum GPA possible for the program is to enable students who have taken a class and not finished it to have the same opportunities as other students to continue their degree regardless of the effects that one class may have had on their overall average.

Students participating in up2U would be required to take the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA+. This measures critical thinking and writing skills. From there, the amount of the overall scholarship would be based on a combination of GPA and their CLA+ score.

M State and their partner, MSUM are both members of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, this includes all of the state’s public colleges and universities – with the exception of the University of Minnesota. Making it easier for the two schools to work together and finalize key concepts of the program in an orderly and timely fashion. The two also have a history of partnerships in academic initiatives.

M State President Peggy Kennedy states, “M State and MSUM have been strong partners for many years; the up2U program allows us to support student learning and degree completion for our students. Employers are asking our students to have even stronger communication and critical thinking skills, and the up2U program enhances the ability of M State and MSUM to meet this request.”

M State expects about 150 new students to participate in up2U this fall; those participants will then be enrolling at MSUM no later than the fall of 2016. This number is fairly low considering M State has more than 9,200 students in credit courses each year. This is because the program is so new, many students have already chosen other schools having not heard of or known that this beneficial program exists. Unfortunately, students already enrolled in M State courses are not eligible for this program.

M State’s goal for this program is to get it up and running with MSUM and then partner with other schools in the state of Minnesota.

Article written by Haley Foster of Detroit Lakes Newspapers