January 2019 newsletter
Learn more about how transfer students find their way to our colleges. Then explore why Minnesota must reduce economic barriers and degree attainment gaps if we are to secure the state’s future vitality.
Many students at private colleges don’t arrive straight from high school — about one quarter of new students instead come in as transfers, bringing credits they’ve earned at other institutions. Efforts to recruit — and support — transfer students are going strong.
"Transfer students bring such rich and diverse backgrounds to our schools," said Jennifer Searles, the transfer programs coordinator at St. Catherine, in a recent Star Tribune article. "They bring so many great stories.”
Each college works with transfer students on its own, reaching out to prospective students and helping them understand how their college could be a good fit. For transfer students this includes considering how a college will receive the credits that a student has earned to-date.
Jackson Cobb, a student at Hamline University, recalled his first meeting with the transfer admission counselor in a video on the university’s website. “She showed me how my credits would transfer in, she showed me what would apply to what majors,” Cobb said. “She really made sure I understood the whole transfer process.”
A new step in helping community college students consider private colleges started this winter when several private colleges started scheduling open houses on the same day. The next day for Transfer Campus Visits will be Feb. 18, when community colleges are closed for Presidents Day; view the list of participating colleges hosting events.
Some of the students who came to the November Transfer Campus Visit at St. Catherine University were interviewed for an MPR story; they shared reasons for their interest that included seeking out specific degrees, including nursing.
When it comes to helping potential transfer students find their way, private colleges also collaborate in providing details related to transfer through the Transfer Guide, designed for counseling staff at community colleges, as well as by sharing information online and organizing information sessions on community college campuses.
While the share of students who are transferring into private colleges varies among Minnesota private colleges, looking at the aggregate picture for the incoming class in fall 2018 transfer students accounted for 2,615 of 11,839 new students. The students are attracted to the 140-plus majors, small classes and the flexibility that many colleges offer, in terms of evening and weekend options.
Where transfer students have started their educations varies, with half coming from community colleges and the other half coming from colleges that award bachelor’s degrees. Among those coming from community colleges, the largest share starts at the Minnesota State system, in particular from those located in the Twin Cities metro area.
As far as geography, about two-thirds of transfer students are coming in from Minnesota institutions, according to the Origin of Transfer Students Report released last summer.
By John Manning
By Paul Cerkvenik
To secure Minnesota’s future economic vitality, our state needs to help more students earn postsecondary degrees after high school. We’re facing slowing growth in our workforce, while at the same time the demand for college-educated employees is increasing. Workforce shortages are already here in some fields and will only grow. Our challenges are compounded by Minnesota’s persistent educational attainment gaps — gaps that are tied to income, race and ethnicity.
To meet future workforce needs and close attainment gaps, Minnesota must reduce economic barriers to educational success for lower- and middle-income Minnesotans. State leaders can take an important step this legislative session to address these needs by investing in the Minnesota State Grant program, which lowers the cost of college by providing need-based grants to one out of four Minnesota college students. (View details on the legislative request.)
Slowing workforce growth
Between the 1980s and the 2000s, Minnesota’s workforce grew on average by more than 31,000 workers per year. According to Minnesota’s state demographer, our labor force growth will dramatically slow in the next three decades, due to a combination of an increasing number of workers reaching retirement age and little to no growth in the number of younger people entering the workforce. The result is an average growth rate of only 8,000 workers per year in the 2010s, dropping to 4,000 per year in the 2020s.
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President Doug Loon said recently that “the mounting challenge of filling job vacancies is a common thread in our business benchmarks.” There is already a worker shortfall, with 5.7 percent of job vacancies unfilled in Greater Minnesota and 4.8 percent unfilled in the seven-county metro area. The worker shortfall affects both new businesses and those that want to expand. The shortfall between the supply of and demand for our workforce in the broader Twin Cities region alone is expected to reach 100,000 in a few years, according to a Peter Frosch, senior vice president, Greater MSP. And according to the Center for Rural Policy and Development, this is a big hurdle for employers in Greater Minnesota as well.
The state’s employers need communities with an abundant supply of well-educated citizens who can bring knowledge, talent and creativity to the business challenges of our globalized economy. With a workforce that is growing slowly, it will be increasingly difficult for Minnesota employers to find and hire the employees they need.
The expanding need for skilled workers
In order for Minnesota’s economy to prosper, we must increase the level of educational attainment of our young people and graduate more individuals with degrees and credentials to capture future employment opportunities and to meet the needs of our business community.
Economists predict that the rapid pace of technological innovation and globalization means that the jobs of the future will require a more highly educated workforce. According to Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve, “economists are not certain about many things, but we are quite certain that a college diploma or an advanced degree is a key to economic success.”
According to the Georgetown University Center for the Study of Education and the Workforce, Minnesota will need 74 percent of its workforce to have at least some college education by 2020, and more than half of those workers will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to data from Greater MSP, the Twin Cities ranks only 6th among 12 peer markets for the percentage of our population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Addressing educational attainment gaps
Against the backdrop of a labor force that is barely growing, it is clear that our economy needs every worker to be fully prepared. If we are to remain competitive, Minnesota simply cannot afford to waste the potential of anyone in our state. For all of Minnesota to continue to compete economically in the next decades, we must further boost our level of educational attainment.
That’s why Minnesota — like many states around the country — established a statewide postsecondary education attainment goal: by 2025, 70 percent of Minnesotans age 25 to 44 should have some form of postsecondary degree or certificate. We are substantially short of and not on track to meet our attainment goal: today only about 60 percent of Minnesotans have some form of postsecondary credential.
At the same time that Minnesota’s labor force growth is slowing and the economy needs more skilled workers, too many Minnesotans — particularly those from disadvantaged families — are faced with many barriers to achieving their full educational and economic potential.
Minnesota students from lower-income families tend to have lower academic attainment than their classmates from higher-income families, resulting in increased barriers to college access and degree attainment. Nationally, only 11 percent of students from the lowest income quartile and only 20 percent from the second income quartile earn a four-year degree by age 25. In contrast, 58 percent of students from the highest income quartile earn a four-year degree by age 25.
And these students are disproportionately students of color and from families where they are the first to go on to college. Minnesota’s education attainment gaps are among the worst in the nation. An estimated 66 percent of white and Asian Minnesotans ages 25-44 have a certificate or higher credential, while other racial and ethnic groups have far lower attainment rates.
We can look at differences tied to economic status as well: In Minnesota only 20 percent of high school graduates eligible for free or reduced price lunch earned a bachelor’s degree within eight years, compared to 46 percent of students not eligible for these programs. Clearly, all colleges need to do better, both public and private.
These attainment gaps represent a major challenge to preparing students to enter the workforce with the skills necessary to meet the state’s current and future needs. The educational success of all students is essential to meeting Minnesota’s future workforce needs. It’s simply not possible for Minnesota to meet its 70 percent attainment goal without closing these attainment gaps.
Minnesota must reduce economic barriers to educational success for lower- and middle-income Minnesotans. When more students succeed, Minnesota will have a stronger economy and stronger communities.
The Council’s 2019 Legislative Request asks Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to prioritize investment in the State Grant program. This will help higher education institutions across the state — both public and private —significantly contribute to closing attainment gaps and strengthening our future workforce. View more background and details.
For sources and links related to data points shared here, see pages 3 to 5 of the Council’s recently released Policy Brief.
Private colleges are affordable after grants and scholarships are subtracted from the listed tuition. For the 2016-17 academic year, the average “net” tuition for first-year students at our colleges was $14,999 because students received an average of $23,129 in institutional, state and federal grants. After adjusting for inflation, net tuition for first year students was $904 less than it was a decade ago. Find links to our college’s net price calculators.
Source: Minnesota Private College Council analysis of IPEDS data, 2016-17. Thus tuition averages may differ slightly from averages calculated based on member institution survey data.
Note: Average net tuition is calculated by subtracting average institutional, federal and state grant aid from average tuition and fees.
St. Thomas turns waste into sustainability
The University of St. Thomas is reducing food waste through the Food Recovery Network, which donates unused food from dining services locations to local charities.
Concordia announces eSports as 17th varsity athletics program
Concordia University, St. Paul associate director of athletics Regan McAthie announced CSP will officially endorse a varsity eSports team, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year.
New St. Olaf program works to expand civil discourse
Political polarization and partisan animosity are making it harder for Americans to talk politics. The Public Affairs Conversation at St. Olaf College seeks to change that.
Carleton names Art D. Rodriguez '96 its new vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid
Currently dean of admission and student financial services at Vassar College, Rodriguez will begin his new position at Carleton College on July 1, 2019.
College Scorecard ranks Saint John’s No. 1, Saint Ben’s No. 4 in Minnesota earnings category
It’s the third time in four years Saint John’s University has led Minnesota nonprofit and public schools.
Record five African-American female athletes start basketball game
Augsburg University athletes made history by having five African-American female starters at a college basketball game in Minnesota.
St. Scholastica to host interactive workshop on Saint John's Bible
A workshop at The College of St. Scholastica on Feb. 1-2 will give attendees a chance to learn about the Saint John's Bible and traditional bookmaking techniques.
Hamline mock trial team takes a turn at teaching
The Hamline University Mock Trial program affirmed the benefits of strong arguments, preparation and teamwork when they shared their knowledge and experience with deaf and hearing-impaired high school students.
Schulze receives Global Thinkers Forum award
Christine Schulze, executive director of Concordia College’s Concordia Language Villages, received an international global thinkers award from the Global Thinkers Forum.
St. Kate's alumnae, faculty among the 2018 Outstanding Nurses
Mpls.St.Paul Magazine has announced the annual Outstanding Nurses Award winners, and nearly one-third of the winners are St. Catherine University alumnae or faculty.
MCAD alumni's new animated series premieres on Cartoon Network
Minneapolis College of Art and Design alumni Andrew Koehler '04 and Benjamin Martin '04 premiere their new animated series “Tigtone” on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
Bethany media arts senior connects in Los Angeles
Bethany Lutheran College senior Sam Shubert spent his fall semester studying at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center with faculty who are working professionals and experts in their field.
Saint Mary's unveils baseball clubhouse
On Jan. 15, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota unveiled its new $704,000 baseball clubhouse, made possible through generosity of alumni athletes.
Bethel student uses her love of science—and learning—to help others
Bethel University junior Maria Pecoraro researched lung development last summer and saw the potential benefits of the research working as a nursing assistant.
Macalester grad goes home to Mexico to fulfill childhood dream
Star Tribune story about Macalester College alumni Cuauhtemoc Cruz Herrera highlights how he is using his love of math to help others.
Students interested in transferring invited to Feb. 18 campus visits
Many private colleges are hosting Transfer Campus Visits on President’s Day when community colleges are closed. Visits will include time to talk to admission staff and see what campus life is like.
Job and Internship Fair scheduled for Feb. 21
Undergraduates students from our member institutions will have the opportunity to meet and interview with employers at the 43rd annual Minnesota Private Colleges’ Job and Internship Fair.
Enrollment report released
The Council’s annual enrollment report is now available online for fall 2018. The report also includes comparisons to Minnesota public institutions.
Edgar Carlson’s legacy celebrated with new book
Bold Visions, Daring Dreams covers the former Gustavus Adolphus College President’s life and accomplishments on the hill and beyond accomplishments on the hill and beyond.
Minnesota Private College Fund releases annual Donor Report
The 2017-18 report includes scholarship recipient profiles, information about the Minnesota Private College Fund and a list of donors.
Dennis Olson selected as new Office of Higher Education commissioner
In December, Gov. Tim Walz tapped Dennis Olson to lead the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Olson comes from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council where he served as executive director.
2019 legislative agenda released
The Council asks Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to prioritize investment in the Minnesota State Grant program, which helps more than 80,000 students at both public and private institutions.
Making the grade still matters — at least in college admissions
Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2018
The near future of higher ed at the State Capitol
Star Tribune, Dec. 14, 2018
Is this higher education’s golden age?
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 10, 2019
To add Black college students, recruit Black schoolteachers
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 14, 2019
Why students don't fill out the FAFSA
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 14, 2019
Employers want 'soft skills' from graduates
Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 17, 2019