By Dana Kazel
The County Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the operating guidelines for the St. Louis County Mineral Royalties Scholarship. Beginning in the fall, the four community colleges that operate in St. Louis County will each have an additional $37,500 in scholarship money to award to students.
Through this program, the County is dedicating a portion of the iron ore royalties it receives to create scholarships for students at Hibbing Community College, Lake Superior College, Mesabi Range College and Vermilion Community College. The scholarship program is intended to be used as a workforce development resource to help train and retain skilled employees in high-demand industries in St. Louis County.
“Our region has been blessed with precious minerals including iron ore,” said Commissioner Tom Rukavina. “For generations, the hard working men and women of St. Louis County have been employed by industries associated with the extraction, production and export of these minerals. Now, through this scholarship program, our current and future generations will continue to benefit from mining on the Iron Range. Our goal is to make this a permanent program by creating an endowment through the use of mineral royalties.”
Each college’s foundation will be responsible for implementing the scholarship process and selecting recipients. Individual awards will range from $500 to $2,500 annually. To be eligible, a student must have received a high school diploma or equivalent while they were a resident of St. Louis County.
The County Board back in December, as part of the approval process for the 2018 budget, authorized $150,000 in funding for the scholarship program. Commissioners Rukavina, Mike Jugovich and Beth Olson then worked with Auditor Don Dicklich and county staff, along with Lake Superior College President Patrick Johns and Higher Education District President Bill Maki to establish the guidelines for the scholarship program.