Once criticized, Minnesota college finance video is back

Remember last fall’s state-sponsored “Paying for College” video, which received criticism that it was too white?

After some editing and new footage, it’s back.

The project, designed to show how Minnesotans can pay for a college education, offers insights from more than two dozen Minnesota counselors, parents and financial-aid specialists.

(You can see a promo for the video above.)

It’s packaged with a handful of other videos that target various groups: first-generation students, those who want to attend a nonprofit private college, and Hmong, Somali and Spanish speakers.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education spokeswoman Sandy Connolly said officials there are “pleased with the final result.”

The original video came under fire last November during a viewing session of about 100 education officials.

Center for School Change Director Joe Nathan told the group the 26-minute main video suffered from “a lack of … communities of color.” The video did contain an African-American student, he said, but all of the financial aid officials, admissions representatives and high-school counselors — the authority figures — were white.

Nathan and a few other education officials at the showing said the video also needed to focus more on obstacles encountered by first-generation students, and to not be quite so technical.

At the time, Connolly said the makers of the video would edit the presentation and reshoot sections.

Today, she told me:

“There’s more diversity, and more financial-aid staff people and workers of color in the [26-minute] program. I think it addressed the concerns that were raised at that first screening, and we feel that with time to reflect and to make some changes, the entire product got better.”

The series is a co-production of TPT’s Minnesota Productions & Partnerships, and is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Private College Fund.

Click on those two links to watch the video series. I’ve got a call out to Nathan and others to see what they think.

(Update: Nathan gives it a thumbs-up.)