U opens aid to transfer students

by Nina Petersen-Perlman

Some transfer students are out of luck when it comes to getting scholarships at the University.

A good portion of the scholarship money available is earmarked for first-year students, a category into which many transfer students don’t fall.

University President Bob Bruininks announced at Friday’s Board of Regents meeting he will give low-income transfer students a leg up.

Incoming transfer students now are eligible to receive the Founder’s Opportunity Scholarship, which this year gave about 1,000 first-year students four years of free tuition and fees.

The scholarship is available to Minnesota residents who qualify for Pell Grants, which is federal aid to low-income students. Eventually the program will benefit 4,500 students at an annual cost of $22 million, said J. Peter Zetterberg, director of institutional research and reporting.

“We thought that any student who transfers to the University should be given the same financial services as a student who starts here as a freshman,” Zetterberg said.

The announcement comes at a time when more transfer students are expected from community colleges because of the dissolution of the General College, and following a 77 percent increase in tuition over the past five years.

Mayo/Rochester partnership

Rochester is looking to reverse its history of “continuing efforts to make do” and become a leader in medical research, said Marilyn Stewart, chairwoman of the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee.

The committee proposed to the regents a partnership between the Mayo Clinic and the Rochester campus. It would cost $86 million over 10 years.

Stewart said the state has to act quickly if it wants to keep its place as a leader in medical research, as several states across the country are racing to be first.

Stewart said Rochester has a natural advantage because it is home not only to Mayo but also to IBM.

“There is no other place in the United States where you’ll find a world leader in health care and a world leader in technology,” Stewart said. “Minnesota is rich in potential, but it’s lagging behind other states.”

The Rochester committee proposed a new campus adjacent to Mayo in downtown Rochester that would be “close and convenient.”

In addressing a concern that this is a bad time to propose such an undertaking when state purse strings are already under such a strain, Stewart said the initiative is not meant to siphon funding from existing state programs.

“This is an action plan, a plan for progress,” Stewart said. “The plan is not about cost; it’s about investment.”

Regent David Metzen cautioned the committee that the way to get support from the Legislature is not to focus on what Rochester will gain from the deal but what Minnesota will gain.

“This is not about Rochester,” Metzen said. “This has to be framed as what’s best for the state.”

The plan, which is endorsed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, will go before the Legislature on March 1, and the board will vote on it March 10.

More regent news

> On Tuesday, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Russell Anderson swore in Cynthia Lesher, whom Pawlenty appointed to the Board of Regents.

> Bruninks recognized global studies and political science senior and Daily columnist Diana Fu as a recipient of the 2006 Rhodes Scholarship. The scholarship will enable her to study for two years at the University of Oxford. Fu is the University’s third Rhodes Scholar in the past five years.