A $1 million gift from Beverly and Richard Fink to eight Minnesota State colleges in the Twin Cities will establish an innovative program to ensure that students are college-ready by fall semester of their freshman year - at no cost to the students.

The "Summer Scholars Academy" is a bridge program that assists new entering students who are not yet ready for college-level coursework by providing full scholarships for developmental education coursework and other support during the summer prior to their freshman year in college. The program offers courses in mathematics, reading and writing, as well as other components of student success such as time management, learning strategies, study skills, academic and career planning, campus resources, technology skills and financial literacy.

Students will receive wrap-around support services that include tutoring and academic advising, and will have ample opportunity to get to know each other and to get individualized support from faculty and staff members. In addition to full scholarships for the summer program, students will receive other financial support including subsidized transportation and a $150 scholarship for fall tuition at a Minnesota State college or university after they successfully complete the program. The Summer Scholars Academy will serve 200 students this summer and a total of 800 students over a four-year period.

Students who are not prepared for college-level work typically take developmental education courses to help address gaps in their knowledge and skills. While developmental education is important to ensure long-term student success, these classes carry the same credit cost as other college classes but don't count toward degree completion and can add to the total cost of a degree.

"The gift from Beverly and Richard Fink grows out of their desire to reduce disparities in student success caused by financial and academic challenges," said Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of Minnesota State. "Addressing these challenges is key to closing opportunity gaps for underserved communities, and it is my hope that we can grow this program statewide to reduce gaps in student success throughout Minnesota. We are profoundly grateful for their generosity."

The Minnesota State colleges that are participating in the program this summer are:

  • Anoka-Ramsey Community College
  • Anoka Technical College
  • Century College
  • Inver Hills Community College
  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Normandale Community College
  • North Hennepin Community College
  • Saint Paul College

Students who would like more information about the Summer Scholars Academy should visit http://minnstate.edu/summerscholars/ or contact one of the participating colleges.