Posted: December 15, 1999

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees has approved a transition plan for its campus in Akita, Japan, that will keep the institution open until March 2003.

The plan, approved unanimously by the board during its meeting on Wednesday, will give Japanese and American students educational options, avoid an abrupt campus closure and may help pave the way for a dynamic new partnership between MnSCU and the Akita Prefecture.

"I am very pleased that we were able to reach this agreement," said Morris J. Anderson, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. "It addresses student concerns as well as the board's concern about the high-cost of maintaining a campus in Japan."

In November, the chancellor sent a delegation to Akita to discuss the future of the Akita campus. The group listened to the concerns of students, faculty, parents and administrators, and then were able to work out an agreement with Japanese officials. The parties agreed to a contract that decreases MnSCU's financial contributions to the campus and contains costs. Until 2003, Japanese students will be given the opportunity to transfer to other MnSCU institutions or will be provided information about other educational opportunities.

"I am very pleased with the staff work that lead to this agreement," said Michael Vekich, chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. "International education is a top priority of the board and the system. We are committed to providing opportunities for students to study abroad."

The Akita program, which grew out of 1986 trade summit meetings, opened in May 1990. Currently, 48 American students and 265 Japanese students are enrolled.