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Stand With SCSU

Learn the FACTS about the University and how we’re focused on the future.

Taking on a Chronic Budget Deficit

At St. Cloud State University, the cost of teaching our students is more than our revenues. In the past we’ve made difficult decisions along the way with cuts and reorganizations. We’ve filled in budget gaps with reserve funds. But that’s a risky way of running a university. And we want to be able to get on strong financial footing now, so that we can invest in areas of growth for the future.

We owe it to St. Cloud State University, our alumni, current and future students, and the community to address the chronic condition of our structural deficit, so that we can get back to doing what we do best… staying focused on the success of our students.

Higher education is changing and so is SCSU.

We are taking bold steps to face our budget challenges head on. And this means balancing tough decisions to make reductions with a strategy for making strategic investments to grow enrollment.

We’re bringing you the facts and a way to show your support.

Stand with SCSU.

Time to set the record straight

We are shaping a competitive portfolio of Programs for current and future Huskies.


80% of the programs we reduced

enrolled fewer than 3 students.

35 Programs

75% of our students

are enrolled in 35 programs.

Students are showing us what they want for their learning experience.


We are focusing on our academic strengths with programs that are in demand

and meet workforce needs and industry trends.

Our Leadership is Taking Bold Steps to Grow Enrollment.

Our Approach

Innovative Opportunities for Flexible Education

We are innovating and finding ways to provide access to high quality and affordable degree options for Minnesotans. That includes reaching adult learners around the state who may not have completed an undergraduate degree. Our investment in accelerated online programs meets their needs for high quality, flexibility and affordability.

Online learning is not new to higher education or St. Cloud State University. But we are breaking new ground with a series of comprehensive programs for adult learners. To market these opportunities and bring students into the SCSU community, we collaborate with an external firm that provides ethical support to similar institutions.

There are 1.3 million Minnesotans with some college credits or an Associate’s Degree who stand to benefit from completing a Bachelor’s Degree.

We want you to know how we are providing these programs.

Don’t just take our word for it.

See what others are saying.


Here are the Facts

SCSU entered an agreement with Academic Partnerships (AP) in June 2021 to help launch and support accelerated online programs for adult learners. Here are the facts about this partnership.

Why did SCSU enter this agreement with AP?

SCSU seeks to (1) expand learning and degree opportunities for non-traditional students who desire online education; (2) increase revenues for the University; and (3) increase employment opportunities for SCSU faculty, full-time lecturers, and part-time lecturers who teach all SCSU’s online programs.

Who is Academic Partnerships?

Academic Partnerships (“AP”) is a company that helps regional public universities and small colleges develop, launch, and sustain their online degree programs. AP provides marketing, recruitment, and student retention services for online programs, and their university partners maintain responsibility for curriculum, instruction, admissions, tuition, advising and all other academic services and decisions. AP has a 15-year track record of success and currently works with over 55 universities across the country. (

Why did SCSU choose to partner with a private company?

SCSU decided to partner with AP because the University does not have the personnel, expertise, or the funds to create and implement the infrastructure that would allow it to build, recruit, and serve a completely new group of students. These are non-traditional students who want to obtain degrees in a way that fits their schedules.  Our MBA program is evidence that we are meeting the needs of these students as the online enrollment has grown from 25 to 220 since we began working with AP in 2022.

The University has thoughtfully used and will continue to use a variety of external entities with the expertise and the capacity to help us better serve our students. For example, Chartwells provides our dining services, EAB provides the web-based technology so we can track students through Navigate, various companies assist us with digital marketing and recruiting, and Zoom provides us the platform for virtual meetings.

Do other public universities use AP support online programs?

Yes. AP currently works with over 55 universities across the country, almost all of which are regional publics, including the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, Youngstown State, Eastern Michigan University, Arkansas State, University of Illinois at Springfield, Norfolk State, and many others.

How is this arrangement beneficial to SCSU? 

Our mission is to serve the educational needs of our community and state, and this includes providing high quality online programs to working and busy adults who are not able or willing to come to campus. By providing an online option, SCSU creates access for students who otherwise would not be able to earn their degree on-campus. By partnering with AP, SCSU can reach students we would not otherwise have access to. Offering prospective students this chance to obtain a degree does grow our enrollment and tuition revenue.

This arrangement is also financially beneficial for SCSU because AP incurs all upfront costs (e.g., project personnel, project management systems, marketing) while working with university faculty and staff to  bring new programs to market. This requires significant time, expertise, and resources SCSU simply does not have, and AP bears the upfront, financial risk.

Who develops the curriculum for the online programs that are supported by AP?

The course content remains the sole purview of the SCSU faculty.

Are these AP courses or are they SCSU courses?

These are SCSU courses and degree programs, all approved by faculty and have completed the curriculum approval process, and these are SCSU students taught by SCSU instructors.

Does AP dictate what elements and/or learning objectives go into the courses?

No. SCSU’s online classes adhere to the nationally recognized standard of the Quality Matters framework for our online course design. Quality Matters is a well-known organization that promotes and supports quality online pedagogical strategies (not content) through evidence-based best practices and evaluations tools. 

Who owns the course content? 

SCSU. Intellectual Property (IP) remains 100% with the faculty and SCSU. An IP agreement, which was developed in consultation with SCSU Faculty Association Union Leadership and system office general counsel, is signed by faculty to protect these rights.

Is SCSU outsourcing any jobs as part of the AP agreement?

No. All online programs supported by AP are taught by SCSU instructors who are employed by SCSU. 

How is AP compensated for its services?

AP receives no upfront or ongoing guaranteed payment. Rather, it receives a share of the tuition paid by each student it helps recruit and retain. Importantly, AP receives payment from the University on a per-course basis—as students’ progress through their degree programs. If students stop progressing, AP stops receiving payment from the University for that student. This means helping SCSU to retain and help students stay on pace all the way through degree completion is AP’s top incentive.

Does AP divert students from the classroom to online programs?

No. The students recruited by AP have expressed an interest in online education because online programs provide degree opportunities for working adults who are working fulltime, including teachers, nurses and many other professions and are not able to travel to campus after work; or are parents who are raising families while trying to earn their degree. Through access to quality online education, SCSU provides these students a chance to earn a college degree.

Do programs administered through AP meet national, state, and disciplinary-specific licensure and/or accreditation standards. 

Yes. All course and degree standards and expectations remain the same regardless of the instructional modality. Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and our own standards of academic excellence would allow nothing less.

What is the length of the agreement between SCSU and AP?

The agreement between SCSU and AP lasts seven years. 


We are collecting positive responses to be featured below.

12 responses to “#IStandWithSCSU”

  1. Ryan Grossback Avatar
    Ryan Grossback

    Saint Cloud State means a lot to me and my family. My parents met here, and now I get the privilege to go here too. I am very proud to be here, but that being said, mismanagement and a downturn in enrollment has hurt this university tremendously. I am extremely happy that changes are being made so that Saint Cloud State can have a positive future and continue to help this great community. Higher education has to adapt to a new world of learning, and I think Saint Cloud State is positioned well to emphasize what makes it special and fix the problems it has. Go Huskies!

  2. Rachelle Carlson-Oien Avatar
    Rachelle Carlson-Oien

    I can understand the hesitation, relunctance, and concern of stepping into a “new” era of teaching and learning. It’s always difficult to accept change from what is the “norm”. However, I can say with 100% certainty, I would not have obtained my 4-year degree without the option of online learning! I am a mother, wife, full-time working adult, with all the adulting responsibilities that come with non-traditional students. The online and hi-flex options provided by SCSU allowed me to become a Husky alumni! Thank you!!

  3. Tracy Ore Avatar
    Tracy Ore

    As a faculty member at SCSU, I appreciate the leadership of President Wacker and her team in bring the university into new strategic directions that highlight the strengths of our faculty, staff, and students in order to serve the communities of Minnesota and the region.

  4. Katie Jackson Avatar
    Katie Jackson

    St. Cloud State University has been my home for the last 10 years. I’ve grown professionally and had the opportunity to learn along with so many students. Without SCSU, I would not be who I am today.

  5. Mitchell Hansen Avatar
    Mitchell Hansen

    As someone who grew up in the St. Cloud area, SCSU was a place where I always knew I wanted to go to school. Looking back now as an alum, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Attending SCSU and establishing the personal relationships with lifelong friends, faculty and staff is something I’ll always be thankful for, and the education I received opened more doors than I could have hoped for now in my career. The SCSU community is one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of, and it’s something that keeps me involved in the university to this day. I’m thankful for the opportunities SCSU had provided me with, and I’m proud of the direction the university leadership, faculty, staff and others are leading SCSU to continue to serve students and the surrounding community.

  6. Molly McCann Avatar
    Molly McCann

    I joined SCSU as a doctoral student in 2019. I was beyond fortunate and excited to join the staff in 2022. This University is comprised of a network of astonishing alumni, award winning faculty, dedicated staff, and current students who will impact the future. I stand with our administration who work tirelessly to keep the health and growth of SCSU strong for all the above mentioned. I look forward to our future and the futures of many hopeful Huskies!

  7. Ryan Carlos Mont Avatar
    Ryan Carlos Mont

    St Cloud State is the Best! A lot of my life has been shaped by this University! I am so very blessed to have had the opportunity to go to school here and graduate from here! I take pride in being a Husky and I want the University to strive in the future!

  8. Elysha Gellerman Avatar
    Elysha Gellerman

    My life did a complete 180 for the better after I decided to pursue a BA and MA from SCSU. I’m so grateful I made the decision to go back to school, even though it meant driving over one hour one way every day for over 4 years. I’d do it all over again knowing how far it took me. Thank you, SCSU, for improving the lives for so many in central Minnesota!

  9. Jennifer Arneson Avatar
    Jennifer Arneson

    Making changes and moving forward can be tough….but it is necessary. I am so impressed with President Wacker, the faculty and the experience my daughter has had at SCSU. It has definitely lived up to her expectations as well as ours. Congratulations on having the guts and determination to make changes to develop new opportunities and encourage the success of SCSU. Go Huskies!

  10. David Switzer Avatar
    David Switzer

    In the past, when faced with budget deficits, the strategy to close the gap seemed random. Let’s just ask anyone who wants to retire to retire, and hope enough people say yes. If that means a program that is growing loses faculty, oh well, at least we cut spending. I do appreciate the more targeted approach here, evaluating where the strengths and weaknesses are and investing in the strengths — it’s what any competent manager would do. It is unfortunate to be put in this situation to begin with, and I disagree with some of the involvement with AP and think some of your FAQ there are incorrect and/or misleading, but the more targeted approach is one I do support. As spenders of taxpayer money, we have a duty to the Minnesota people to use it wisely.

  11. Tami Avatar

    Our family is very grateful for the opportunity SCSU has provided 3 of our 4 immediate family members (My husband and I and our daughter) over the last 40 years to earn our degrees. We have many other family members and friends over the years who have attended St. Cloud State and are happy successful people. We have earned bachelors degrees, MBA’s and masters degrees. We have studied abroad, lived on and off campus, been commuter students, student athletes as well as online students. These are all part of the experience we know and appreciate. Thank you for doing what needs to be done to continue the success of Saint Cloud State for future Minnesotans!

  12. XAkk G. Asphodel Avatar
    XAkk G. Asphodel

    My colorful history with St. Cloud State began (directly) in 1989 after high school. Admittedly, I was less than impressed and certainly not ready, personally, and did not stay long. I later returned with a better understanding of what my own role was in my success as a college student, and along the way I met faculty and staff who helped guide, encourage, inspire and challenge me. Though I once again left (St. Cloud, the university, the state, and even the country) to pursue other activities and interests, I returned and found that St. Cloud State University had just what I needed for the next stage in my journey. Throughout all of these periods of being a degree-seeking student, and even before, the university’s radio station, KVSC, kept me connected as a listener, a volunteer staff member, and sometime student director. Having shifted my academic focus away from English and History, I succeeded in completing a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship in 2006, the first graduating class for this new major that was ideally suited to my needs. So, once again, St. Cloud State had changed, evolved, improved and met the needs of the current times in a way that allowed me to feel confident in the education and experience I received. All in all, now as a 10-year staff member, I can say that this institution has given me more than I could have imagined, and indeed, more than I feel I’m sometimes even aware, including having brought my wife of over 20 years here so that we could meet. I am not typically a “rah-rah, go school” type of person, so believe it’s from the heart when I say, “Go, Huskies!”

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