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Campaign to raise MnSCU scholarship money nearly doubles goal

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Minnesota's state colleges and universities thought they'd set an ambitious goal when they set out to raise $20 million in scholarship money two years ago. Wednesday they announced they virtually doubled that fundraising goal.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU) says the "Access to Excellence" campaign launched in 2013 raised $39.5 million for scholarships.

Instead of supporting the 16,000 students as originally planned, scholarships will go to 28,000, officials say.

The Star Tribune says the average scholarship amount is just over $1,400.

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone told MnSCU's board of trustees Wednesday the scholarship campaign "exceeded our wildest imagination."

Meanwhile, a decline in enrollment at MnSCU's institutions has been larger than expected, leaving a shortfall of $12.7 million in the system's budget, the Pioneer Press reports. Officials called it no cause for alarm, noting that the amount is less than one percent of MnSCU's budget, the newspaper says.

The MnSCU system includes 24 two-year colleges and seven state universities.

Last month MinnPost noted that in a U.S. Education Department scorecard assessing the costs and benefits of higher education programs around the country, Minnesota's community colleges were hurt by low graduation rates.

The state universities in Mankato and St. Cloud showed strong numbers, though, with tuition costs below average while graduation rates and the salary of graduates were above average.

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