Agreement could mean more local community college transfers

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The number of students transferring to the University of Minnesota through an agreement with several local community colleges is likely to increase in the next few years, but University Director of Admissions Dr. Wayne Sigler said that doesn’t mean other transfer students are going to be pushed out.

A handful of University colleges are part of the University of Minnesota Cooperative Admissions Program (MnCAP), which guarantees admission to the University if local community college students meet a series of conditions, most of which require a 2.5 GPA and a ‘C’ average in courses related to the students intended major.

Meanwhile, local community college enrollment is up, which could mean more students will take advantage of the program.

Enrollment at two-year colleges under Minnesota State College and Universities’ was up by nearly 4 percent between fall 2007 and fall 2008, MnSCU spokeswoman Linda Kohl said.

And some local colleges are reporting abnormal increases in enrollment from fall 2008 to spring 2009 — a trend that Kohl said is likely related to the current recession.

“Traditionally when the economy gets in a downturn we see an increased interest, especially when people get laid off from their jobs and need to learn new skills,” Kohl said.

At Minneapolis Community and Technical College, enrollment was up by about 6 percent this spring and new student enrollment was up by almost 14 percent, a huge increase, MCTC spokesman Reede Webster said.

At Saint Paul College, enrollment is thought to be up by 8 percent for the spring semester, spokesman Jim Stumne said, and Anoka-Ramsey Community College enrollment has been up continuously for the last few years by about 5 percent, spokeswoman Mary Jacobson said.

All three community colleges said students are interested in participating in MnCAP.

The increase in enrollment likely means more local community college transfers for the University of Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean transfers from other college will be affected, University Admissions Director Sigler said.

Sigler said the percentage of students who participate in the program is so small in comparison to the total number of transfer students that it won’t make a difference.

“It’s not crowding out other transfer students,” he said.

The University has a limited amount of space for transfer students. Last year, 1,843 students transferred to the University, Sigler said.

The number of students who transferred to the University through the MnCAP last fall is unavailable.

The University would like MnCAP, which started in 2000 with only three community colleges, to grow. Seven community colleges currently participate.

“We believe that the community colleges here in Minnesota are very, very important segments of the higher education community and we all are working in partnership with them,” Sigler said. “We believe [MnCAP] is an important access point for Minnesota residents.”

Students from Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Century College, Inver Hills Community College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Normandale Community College and Saint Paul College are eligible.

The University colleges that accept the community college transfer students include the colleges of: Biological Sciences; Design; Education and Human Development; Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences; Liberal Arts. The Institute of Technology also allows the MnCAP transfers.

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