MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of St. Thomas’s Dougherty Family College just finished its first school year ever and, administrators say, the average student paid just $2,000 in tuition.

It offers a two-year associate’s degree aimed to make higher education more accessible to students who otherwise wouldn’t pursue it.

“We’re really targeting students who may not be able to access a traditional four-year program because cost may be a barrier, they may not be fully academically prepared to enter a four-year program, or they may not have the supports necessary to be successful right off the bat,” college dean Alvin Abraham said.

The program had 107 students enrolled during the 2017-2018 school year and administrators hope to up that to 150 students per class this year.

After submitting a transcript and a couple of brief essays, applicants who make the cut will get an in-person interview. Technically, the program costs $15,000 per year, however most of that price is covered from federal or state aid, as well as the university’s endowment.

Out-of-pocket tuition is adjusted based on what a family can afford, sometimes as little as $1,000 per year.

That price covers every course, text books, a laptop, a metro pass with unlimited rides and breakfast and lunch offered every school day.

Applications will remain open for the 2018-2019 school year until August 13.

Christiane Cordero