The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system is the largest single provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota and the fifth largest system of colleges and universities in the United States. The system includes 31 institutions (24 technical and community colleges and seven state universities) spanning 54 campuses across 47 Minnesota communities serving more than 435,000 students annually.
MnSCU is Minnesota’s most affordable higher education option, with tuition costs that are substantially lower than for-profit options, the University of Minnesota and private colleges. MnSCU serves anyone with a high school diploma or GED. Compared with the state’s other higher education options, more MnSCU students graduate with no debt or significantly lower debt. Currently 66 percent of all Minnesota residents pursuing an undergraduate credential are enrolled at a MnSCU college or university. The system also serves more than 59,900 students of color (more than any other provider of higher education in Minnesota), 26,636 PSEO students and 10,644 Veterans. MnSCU serves more low income students than all of the other higher education providers in the state combined.
MnSCU colleges and universities offer 522 programs and more than 15,000 courses partially or fully online. MnSCU colleges and universities also deliver 16,000 customized training, occupational and professional classes to businesses and other employers, serving 120,000 workers each year.
The law creating the system was passed by Minnesota Legislature in 1991 and went into effect July 1, 1995. The law merged the state’s community colleges, technical colleges and state universities into one system. The system is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees. Trustees are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The board appoints a chancellor for the system, who is responsible for providing academic leadership to the system's 31 colleges and universities, ensuring effective and efficient management and operation of the system, carrying out board policies, recommending operating and capital budgets to the board, and planning for the current and long-term educational needs of Minnesota. The present chancellor of the system is Steven J. Rosenstone, who began his term with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities on Aug. 1, 2011. Each college and university is headed by a president who serves as the chief executive officer. The presidents report to the chancellor.