Initiative launched to help adult learners complete degree

Published 8:10 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education and Minnesota State are launching a new program to help adult learners re-enroll and finish their postsecondary education: MN Reconnect.

Through MN Reconnect, adult learners who started but did not complete their postsecondary studies will receive personalized support to re-enroll in higher education, stay engaged in their studies, and complete their college degree, according to a press release.

Besides Riverland Community College, three other Minnesota State colleges have been selected to participate in the launching phase of MN Reconnect: Inver Hills Community College, Lake Superior College and South Central College.

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“For many adult learners who have taken a break from their college education to pursue work or family commitments, going back to school can often seem overwhelming and impossible. MN Reconnect seeks to change that by removing perceived barriers to entry and supporting students throughout the course of their degree completion,” said Larry Pogemiller, Minnesota Office of Higher Education commissioner.

“Through MN Reconnect, the state of Minnesota is making a critical investment in advancing our workforce. Adult learners in Minnesota now have an exciting new option to complete their education and advance their career.”

Adult learners at the four participating Minnesota State colleges will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a personal navigator from re-enrollment to degree completion. Navigators are education professionals whose main purpose is to help adult learners overcome the common barriers they may experience in a traditional college setting, such as: managing academic and career planning, scheduling, and tutoring options and accessing emergency financial aid and tuition assistance. Riverland’s personal navigator is Amy Wagner, a MN Reconnect academic advisor.

“I have started meeting with Reconnect students who returned to Riverland this fall and look forward to meeting and working with more adult learners through our outreach campaign,” Wagner said. “Adult learners face unique challenges. I will work individually with these students to identify issues, provide support and connect them to resources to help them be successful.”

MN Reconnect is designed to support adult learners who return to college to earn a degree after an absence of two or more years. Adult learners between the ages of 25 and 44, who previously earned 15 or more credits, but did not complete a college degree, and are interested in earning a certificate, diploma or associate degree at the participating colleges, should contact a navigator at the campus closest to them.

MN Reconnect is made possible by financial and technical support from Lumina Foundation and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The four Minnesota State colleges were selected to participate in the launching phase of the program through a competitive bid process and represent both greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities.

People with questions about the MN Reconnect program at Riverland are asked to contact Wagner at 507-433-0575 or by email at

More information about the program is available at or Riverland’s services at www.mnreconnect/riverland.