Innovative academic programs, enhanced services and campus-based veterans centers have helped boost enrollment of veterans, active service members and National Guard members attending Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. In 2011, 10,644 veterans and service members were enrolled in one of the system’s 31 institutions, up 57 percent from 6,777 students in 2008. In 2010, approximately 548 veterans and service members were enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), an 89 percent increase from 2008.
“Veterans, National Guard and active service members are an invaluable part of the workforce that Minnesota needs to remain competitive,” said Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “We especially welcome our returning vets to our campuses, and we are committed to helping them complete their certificate and degree programs to prepare them for great jobs. We offer the most affordable postsecondary option in Minnesota and service members will receive an extraordinary education at our campuses.”
MCTC’s is assisting veterans through its campus-based veterans center, Veterans Upward Bound. Veterans Upward Bound is a federally funded TRiO program that helps low income and first generation college-bound veterans return to school. This full-service educational center offers free refresher courses in writing, reading, math, science, computer literacy, Spanish and study skills. Other services include career counseling, enrollment assistance, financial aid counseling, G.E.D preparation and one-on-one tutoring. Students work at their own pace without grades and all books and supplies are provided free. The center also has a computer lab where students can write papers, browse the Internet and check their email messages.
MCTC is also honored to appear in a list of approximately 1,500 schools that represent the 20 percent of educational institutions that are the most Military Friendly (offer the best education, value and welcome to military members, veterans and their families).
Looking Toward the Future
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system serves more veterans and active service members than any other sector of higher education in Minnesota. Enrollment of veterans in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is expected to continue to increase as 2,700 members of the Minnesota National Guard return from their deployments in Kuwait and Afghanistan over the next several months.
To help ensure a smooth transition to civilian life, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has an education and career planning tool called MyMilitary GPS LifePlan. The tool helps veterans, service members and their family members set goals and design education, career, finance and personal well-being plans that will help lead them to the success they desire.
In recent years, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have taken steps to improve services to Minnesota veterans and service members. These actions include:
- Establishing veterans centers or space for veterans services on every campus
- Developing a more systematic approach to granting college credit for military education
- Providing telephone and online support for educational counseling
- Participating in reintegration sessions to help veterans and their family members understand their higher education options. 75 to 80 percent of returning service members attending reintegration sessions indicated an interest in college.
In addition, all Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are Servicemember Opportunity Colleges (SOC). SOC is a consortium of about 1,900 institutions that function in cooperation with 15 higher education associations, the Department of Defense and active and reserve components of the military services to expand and improve postsecondary education opportunities for service members.
In 2010, Minnesota’s governor awarded “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” status to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for the system’s work with veterans and service members.