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Increasing college knowledge

Waiving application fees and inviting high school students on campus are two ways Minnesota colleges are increasing college-going rates.

October is College Knowledge Month in Minnesota. It’s an effort to give every graduating high school senior the preparation, opportunity and support needed to apply to college. Throughout the month, students can participate in college exploration activities and start planning for college.

But as high school students start applying to college, application fees can be a barrier. Knowing this, some Minnesota colleges waive application fees completely. Others are waiving them for the month of October, such as Lake Superior College and St. Cloud Technical & Community College. And all 30 Minnesota State colleges and seven universities are waiving application fees October 22–26.

“Minnesota State offers powerful educational opportunities to anyone hoping to build a brighter future,” Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State, said in a press release. “College Knowledge Month is an especially good time to prepare for the application process and apply for admission to any of our colleges and universities — free of charge. These are key first steps on a path to outstanding programs that prepare our students for a career and for lifelong learning.”

Colleges also are holding activities to bring high school students and their families on campus. Rainy River Community College’s College Knowledge Night on Oct. 11, for example, gives potential students a chance to meet staff and faculty and learn about the typical admission and financial aid application process for any college.

College Knowledge Month is one of two college-going campaigns in the state. The other, Minnesota College Goal, is a FAFSA-completion effort. Free events are organized for students and families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The initiative is particularly aimed at first-generation, low-income students, and students of color. A look at the Minnesota College Goal calendar shows 16 FAFSA events throughout the state in October, some hosted at colleges and others at the high schools.