Iron Range scholarships benefit Minnesotans

Fabiana Torreao

More than 500 University freshmen received almost $600,000 last year in scholarships from University-owned land in northern Minnesota.
The Iron Range Merit Scholarship Program is the state’s largest and fastest growing scholarship program, said Peter Zetterberg, director of Institutional Research and Reporting.
“It’s a tremendous program,” Zetterberg said. “And the value of the endowment that supports it will exceed $25 million this year.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the land the University received from the federal government when Minnesota became a state in 1858.
About 2,400 acres of land is leased for taconite removal, which generates revenue that goes into the University trust fund.
The money is split equally between mineral research and student scholarships until the former reaches $25 million. At that point, all the revenue goes into the scholarship fund.
“One hundred fifty years later, there’s a benefit that’s coming to the students,” said Kathy Lewis, the resources department’s land and mineral transactions manager. “(The scholarship) helps them in their education process and encourages them to continue their education.”
Open to all Minnesota-resident incoming University freshmen, the Iron Range scholarship program has helped an estimated 2,500 students in all four University campuses since its inception in 1995. About one-third of those students were at the Twin Cities campus, Zetterberg said.
The amount of money for each campus is proportional to the number of Minnesota-resident students on each campus.
Most of the $844,274 given last year went to students at the Twin Cities campus, who received $572,418. Duluth, Morris and Crookston students received $198,404, $51,501 and $21,951 respectively.
Fabiana Torreao covers the St. Paul campus and welcomes comments at [email protected]