Five public colleges and one private university will receive $175,000 in state funds to help students facing financial emergencies, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education announced Wednesday.
The six schools are the first to receive grants under a new state program designed to assist students struggling with homelessness or other financial crises. Last year, the Minnesota Legislature approved the Emergency Assistance for Postsecondary Students Grant Program, which was signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton.
The awards, ranging from $20,000 to $37,500, require the schools to provide a quarter of the funds as matching grants.
The grants were awarded to:
Century College in White Bear Lake: $37,500.
Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights: $30,000.
Normandale Community College in Bloomington: $37,500.
Pine Technical and Community College in Pine City: $20,000.
St. Catherine University in St. Paul: $30,000.
White Earth Tribal and Community College, Mahnomen: $20,000.
Last week, a survey by Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab found that 9 percent of college students experienced homelessness, and more than a third reported "food insecurity," or concern about running out of money for food.
"For many students, food and housing insecurity pose a real threat to successfully completing their postsecondary education," said Larry Pogemiller, the commissioner of higher education, in Wednesday's announcement. "We know from schools currently providing emergency services to students, such as those supported by these grants, that they can be very effective in keeping students enrolled."
Individual students will be eligible for grants of up to $500 or $1,000 from their colleges under the program.