Financing a college education became much easier for the 840 University of Minnesota students who received scholarships from the Iron Range Scholarship Program last year.
A total of $844,274 in scholarship money was distributed to resident undergraduate students at four University of Minnesota campuses between July 1, 1998, and June 30, 1999. The distributions were Crookston, $21,951; Duluth, $198,404; Morris, $51,501; Twin Cities, $572,418.
Funding for the scholarship program comes from income generated on state taconite leases of permanent university lands. Minnesota received two grants of permanent university lands from the federal government when it became a state. Currently, the Minnesota DNR manages permanent university lands for the state.
"A legislative change in 1992 stipulated that all revenue received from state mining leases covering permanent university lands is put into an endowment for the scholarship fund and mineral research," said Kathy Lewis, land and mineral transactions manager for the DNR. "The money will be split equally between the two accounts until the research fund reaches $235 million. At that time, all revenue from state mining leases will go into the scholarship fund."
Students from all over Minnesota are eligible to receive scholarships from the Iron Range Scholarship Program. Money from the endowment earnings is allocated to the University of Minnesota and distributed to individual campuses based on a full-year equivalent formula.
The Iron Range Scholarship Program is the University of Minnesota's largest scholarship program and also its fastest growing, according to Peter Zetterberg, director of Institutional Research and Reporting. "A robust economy and strong gains in the stock market have helped to yield $1 million for the program this year," he said.
University of Minnesota officials estimate that 2,500 students have received awards from the scholarship fund since its first distribution was made in 1995. The earnings are expected to support approximately 1,000 scholarships in 1999-2000. Prospective students are encouraged to inquire about admissions and scholarship opportunities in the fall, one full year before they plan to attend school.
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