June, 2019

Each of the 17 private nonprofit institutions that make up the Minnesota Private College Council is unique. They are different in numerous ways, from their locations to the majors they offer to the students they serve. Yet there is a lot to say about our collective impact.

We educate tomorrow’s workforce

The knowledge and skills gained at our colleges and universities are exactly what employers seek. A liberal arts education that emphasizes critical thinking skills and real-world experiences is more relevant than ever in our global economy. Overall, our contribution is significant: our institutions award 30 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the state. This share is higher in specific areas, including physical sciences (49 percent), nursing (44 percent) mathematics and statistics (35 percent) and business (33 percent.) We also award significant numbers of graduate and professional degrees.

We reflect Minnesota — and the world

Our students reflect Minnesota, which is where two-thirds of our students are from. Consider in that:

  • Twenty-five percent of our domestic undergrads are students of color and Native American.
  • Nineteen percent of our students are “first-generation,” meaning that neither of their parents completed a degree.
  • Twenty-seven percent of our undergrads receive federal Pell Grants, which serve students from low-income families.

It’s important to note that our undergrads aren’t all starting straight from high school. Twenty-two percent of our new students are transfer students, many from Minnesota community colleges. We also know that 13 percent of new students are independent, meaning they’re age 25 or older. (Six of our colleges offer evening and weekend degree completion programs designed for adult learners.)

And yes, our colleges do draw students from outside Minnesota to our state, many of whom will contribute to our workforce. Among our undergraduates, 27 percent come from elsewhere in the United States and 5 percent come from other nations.

We help students succeed

Our four-year graduation rate is the best in the state. And when compared to other states’ graduation rates — for both public and private institutions — our rate is the best in the Midwest and ranks third nationally. What makes the difference? Credit personalized attention and strong student support. The result is that our students are able to stop paying tuition and start what’s next sooner, whether that’s going to graduate school or starting careers.

We also stand out when looking at the average graduation rate for students of color and Native American students, as well as the graduation rate for low-income students who receive Pell Grants. In both cases our rates are the highest in the state and higher than the averages for public and private colleges nationwide.

We serve a public purpose

While our institutions are private, as nonprofits they serve a public purpose — meeting the educational needs of our state and our students.