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Minnesota Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Minnesota has almost 200 post-secondary educational institutions. Whether you want to attend an online school like Capella University, a private institution like North Central University, a research institution like the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, or a state institution like Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota, you may qualify for grants, scholarships, and loans to help you finance your education.

Finding Minnesota Scholarships and Financial Aid

Here are the most common places to look for scholarships and financial aid:

  • U.S. Government (federal grants and loans)
  • Minnesota state government (grants, scholarships, and loans)
  • Individual Minnesota university and college scholarships
  • Outside scholarships (businesses, foundations, and professional organizations)

Federal Financial Aid Available for Minnesota Students

Minnesota students with financial need may qualify for federal financial aid. To receive federal financial aid, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Applications are available January 1 the year prior to the year in which you need aid. Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible since funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The national deadline for FAFSA applications is June 30th, the year you need the aid. The Minnesota state deadline is 30 days after the start of your term. Check with your school to be sure you don’t miss the deadline.

After you submit your FAFSA, you may receive a financial aid package from your school’s financial aid/scholarship office. Financial aid packages usually include grants, which do not need to be paid back, and low-interest loans, which do need to be paid back.

If you don’t qualify for federal financial aid, you may be eligible to borrow private loans. Your school may have a list of private lenders.

For more information on federal grants, see our Guide to Federal Grants. If you would like more information on student loans, see our Guide to Student Loans.

Minnesota State Financial Aid Programs

Minnesota offers financial assistance to students attending school in Minnesota. Here is a list of the available programs:

Minnesota State Grant Program This is the largest Minnesota financial aid program. It is offered to students from all economic backgrounds and works in conjunction with the PELL Grant to offer all students a chance to pursue a post-secondary degree. Complete the FAFSA to be considered.

Minnesota Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF) Program This low-interest loan is available to students pursuing post-secondary education. Undergraduates can borrow up to $7,500 a year and graduates can borrow up to $9,000 a year. Click here to apply online.

Minnesota State Work Study Program Students with financial need may qualify for this Minnesota financial aid program, which provides paid work experience for students.

Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program This grant is available to financially needy students with children under 12. Only state residents qualify. Applicants must be Minnesota residents. Click here for an application.

Minnesota Achieve Scholarship Minnesota students whose parents make less than $75,000 a year are eligible for this scholarship. Students must be attending or planning to attend a post-secondary institution. Please refer to the website for specific requirements. You can download a 2009/2010 application here.

Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship This scholarship is available to students who have demonstrated academic excellence in foreign language, English or creative writing, fine arts, math, science, or social science. To qualify, students must enroll in a degree-granting post-secondary institution following their high school graduation. Contact your institution to see if they participate in the program.

Alliss Opportunity Grant Program for Adults Returning to College This Minnesota financial aid program covers one class and books for adults who have been out of high school for seven or more years and do not have a bachelor’s degree. For applications, contact your admissions office before you apply for admission.

Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program Minnesota students who are one-fourth Native American or more may qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must have financial need. Download a 2009/2010 application here.

Minnesota GI Bill Program Minnesota veterans and service members who served after September 11, 2001 and their children and spouses may be eligible for this program. Applicants must be Minnesota residents who are pursuing post-secondary degrees and are less than 62 years old. Click here for an application.

Public Safety Officer’s Survivor Grant This grant is available to children and spouses of Minnesota police officers killed in action after January 1, 1973. Students must be pursuing a post-secondary degree. To qualify students need to take a certificate of eligibility to their financial aid/scholarship office. Request a certificate of eligibility from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety at (651) 201-7165.

Minnesota University and College Scholarships and Financial Aid

Individual Minnesota universities and colleges offer scholarships to students who are enrolled in their programs. These scholarships are usually offered on the basis of academic achievement, financial need, special ability, major, ethnic background, leadership/community service, and a combination of these and more. Most scholarships awarded based on academic achievement are offered through the admissions office. All you have to do is submit your application for admissions on time. Other scholarships, such as those based on major and leadership/community service, may require you to apply separately. Examples schools that do this are Minnesota State University, Mankato and the University of Minnesota. Check with your financial aid/scholarship office for application requirements and procedures.

Outside Scholarships for Minnesota Students

The Saint Paul Foundation The foundation offers more than 40 scholarships to students. For a list of available scholarships, please see the foundation website. Application procedures and requirements vary per scholarship.

Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers Scholarship Students studying in an ABET-accredited engineering program at an accredited post-secondary institution in Minnesota may qualify for this scholarship. For more information and application, click here.

Society of Professional Journalists—Minnesota Pro Chapter Two $1,000 scholarships are available to students who are planning on a career in journalism. Applicants should be current students at a Minnesota institution or high school graduates planning to enroll in a high school outside of Minnesota. Please refer to the society website for an application. The deadline is usually in April.

Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) Scholarships Students who are studying science, technology, engineering, or math may qualify for this $2,000 scholarship. Applications are available in January.

Central Minnesota Community Foundation The foundation has many scholarships for Minnesota students. For specific application procedures on individual scholarships, please refer to the foundation website.

Three Things to Keep in Mind About Minnesota Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • The Minnesota state deadline is 30 days after the start of your term. Check with your school to see if they follow the state deadeline or if they have one of their own.
  • Minnesota offers may state scholarships and grants. Make sure you know which ones you might qualify for.
  • There are many scholarships available from professional groups in Minnesota. Search locally before apply for national or state-wide scholarships.

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