New Alliance Will Promote Student Access to MnSCU Institutions

Posted: October 13, 1999

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities ushered in a new era of cooperation among its 11 metropolitan institutions today when college officials unveiled the Metro Alliance, a higher education network to provide students greatly expanded access to cross-campus programs and services.

Thomas Horak, president of Normandale Community College, told members of the state Higher Education Finance Committee that metro-area colleges and universities will provide students enrolled at each institution access to programs and services at every other institution. Horak is chair of the Metro Alliance, the newly formed network consisting of Metropolitan State University and 10 two-year community and technical colleges located in the Twin Cities.

"The Alliance is a historic step forward for higher education in the metropolitan area," said Horak. "With students as its focus, it aims to reach out to those students who traditionally are not well-served by higher education."

Courses and programs across the metro-area MnSCU institutions will be aligned so that students can work toward their learning goals without fearing that credits will not transfer to other metro-area institutions. Students who choose to can complete a Metropolitan State University baccalaureate degree at selected two-year colleges around the metropolitan area.

"This planning effort sets an important new standard for the way we serve students as we move into the next century," said Linda Baer, MnSCU senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. The Alliance grew out of a metropolitan area higher education planning process that was undertaken at the direction of the state Legislature. The Alliance aims to address the state's current shortage of skilled workers by providing people the opportunity to upgrade their skills and attain their higher education goals without traveling far from home.

The Alliance also aims to increase the participation rate of metropolitan area high school graduates who attend college right out of high school. Currently the median age of students attending MnSCU institutions in the metropolitan area is 25.