Your Trailhead Begins Here…

by Annika Freiburger

Hibbing, MN: The colleges of the Northeast Higher Education District (NHED); Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College, Mesabi Range College, Rainy River Community College, and Vermilion Community College have received their final approval from the Minnesota State Board of Trustees to merge their institutions and become a single institution with six campuses.  They will call themselves: Minnesota North College.

This approval by the Minnesota State Board of Trustees comes on the heels of the system’s regional accrediting body: the Higher Learning Commission, approving the merger on February 25th, 2022.

“Operationally merging our colleges leverages the resources, talents, and marketability that comes with a larger, regional college yet maintains the cherished individual campus identities and community connections.  Students will benefit from a seamless educational experience along with expanded access to courses, programs, support services, and the team of experts that serve our six campuses. Working regionally, Minnesota North College will be able to provide a comprehensive response to our business and industry partners, which aligns with our vision of being a catalyst for regional prosperity,” Minnesota North College’s President Mike Raich said.

Minnesota State System Chancellor Devinder Malhotra echoed President Raich’s sentiments, “This has been an extraordinary lift for everyone within the Minnesota North College community, and I commend President Raich and his team up north for all the deadlines and sleepless nights that were put into making this a reality.  I love visiting each of Minnesota North College’s campuses, because each one of them is unique geographically and programmatically, but one thing that is common across all six of the campuses is everyone’s commitment to students and their success.”

The rationale for pursuing this structure change can be summarized in two broad categories: (1) operational efficiency, which will position us for long-term financial sustainability. (2) Most important is the improvement of services to students and stakeholders which will be improved in a one-college operating model. With the one-college model, students will take courses across our campuses (instead of across colleges) with a single transcript and a single bill, as well as a simplified registration and financial aid process while still benefiting from local, on-campus services. Students will have increased access to a more robust selection of courses and career programs. A single college will lead to more clear and consistent collaborative efforts with regional K-12 and industry partners as well. Finally, the single-college model will lead to improved operational efficiency allowing resources to be further focused on mission-centric functions.

“Minnesota North College borders Canada and Voyageurs National Park, sits on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and near the shores of the Mississippi River, and operates in the middle of the amazing landscapes carved out by the nation’s largest iron mining operations.  All of this available in a single college will definitely entice people to Head North.”

Introducing Minnesota North College