MOORHEAD ⁠— Students across the country are continuing to take on more college debt, but now thousands of Minnesota students will get some help.

It was announced at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead on July 10, that as a result of the 2019 session, the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz approved an appropriation that added $7 million to the Workforce Development Scholarship Program.

The program is for students at colleges and universities of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities who are pursuing programs that prepare graduates for careers in high-demand sectors.

The sectors include agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, transportation and early childhood development.

The increase comes after a $1 million pilot program that initially awarded hundreds of scholarships throughout Minnesota in the 2018-19 school year.

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There will be 668, $2,500 scholarships awarded to students during the 2019-20 school year and 2,400 scholarships awarded during the 2020-21 school year.

Arrick Jackson, the vice president of Academic Affairs at Minnesota State University Moorhead, says it may not seem like a lot of money, but $2,500 goes a long way for students.

"It covers things that may be missing," Jackson said. "Books, clothing items...may help them with some rent. Definitely food and then, of course, whatever tuition and fees that the student my incur."

Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving about 375,000 students. It is the third largest system for two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.