An overview for those unfamiliar with MnSCU

Big decision to make

If you’re new to Minnesota higher ed, you might be wondering just what the MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities) system is.

It is indeed different from the University of Minnesota. Roughly speaking, whereas the U of M is the research arm of Minnesota’s higher ed, MnSCu focuses more on student teaching — and is actually larger. It educates almost two in three undergraduates and contains the state universities and two-year community and technical colleges.

Its community colleges also have an “open access” policy that allows those with a high-school diploma or GED to pursue studies.

Here’s an edited overview from the MnSCU Web site:

With its 32 institutions, including 25 two-year colleges and seven state universities, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is the largest single provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota.

The colleges and universities operate 54 campuses in 47 Minnesota communities and serve about 277,000 students in credit-based courses. Overall, the system produces about 34,700 graduates each year. The system also serves 157,000 students in non-credit courses.

In addition to credit-based courses, the system offers customized training programs that serve about 179,500 employees from 6,000 Minnesota businesses each year.

The law creating the system was passed by the 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.

Instead of three separate governing boards and three chancellors, there is now one board and one chancellor for the entire system.

Board of Trustees: The system is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees. Trustees are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

Office of the Chancellor: The present chancellor of the system is Dr. James H. McCormick, who began his term with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities on July 1, 2001. He succeeds Morrie Anderson who served from July 1997 until June 30, 2001. The system’s first chancellor was Judith Eaton, who served from August 15, 1995 to June 30, 1997.

System Presidents: Each college and university is headed by a president who serves as the chief executive officer. The presidents report to the system’s chancellor.

Other stuff:

  • The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is the fifth-largest system of two- and four-year colleges and universities in the country, based on student enrollment.
  • Tuition at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is lower than tuition at private colleges, private trade schools or the University of Minnesota.
  • More than 80 percent of graduates stay in Minnesota to work or continue their education.

Key fields it provides education for:

  • 49 percent of the state’s new teaching graduates.
  • 83 percent of the state’s new nursing graduates.
  • 85 percent of the state’s law enforcement officers.
  • 84 percent of new graduates in the construction trades.
  • 90 percent of new mechanics graduates.
  • 38 percent of the state’s new business graduates.
  • 9,000 firefighters and emergency first responders each year.