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How to Apply for Financial Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid


To receive financial aid, you must apply for it. Applying for admission to a college or university is not enough.

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine how much a student and their family is expected to contribute for the student's education. The difference between the total cost of attendance and the family contribution is your financial need. The results of the FAFSA are used in determining student grants, work study, and loan amounts.

There are two formats for filing the FAFSA. One is the traditional paper form and the other is FAFSA on the Web. The FAFSA is also available in Spanish. Be aware of financial aid application deadlines to not miss out on receiving student aid awards. Keep in mind that each school may have its own financial aid deadline as well.

NOTE: Undocumented students don't qualify for federal financial aid and are not able to submit a FAFSA. Complete a MN Dream Act application to be considered for Minnesota state financial aid.

Why Complete a FAFSA

  • The FAFSA application is used to receive Federal Pell Grants, Minnesota State Grants and other financial aid offered by colleges and universities.
  • Your eligibility to receive a Minnesota State Grant is determined by completing a FAFSA. Results are automatically sent to Minnesota colleges. When you submit your FAFSA on the Web, be sure to click on the link to Minnesota state financial aid on the FAFSA confirmation page to complete the online eligibility questionnaire for a Minnesota State Grant.

    Some scholarships offered by colleges may require separate applications through the campus financial aid office. See scholarships offered by Minnesota colleges.

  • Fill out the FAFSA completely and accurately, and be sure to get it in on time. Even a minor problem with the form could result in delays or the loss of financial assistance. Completing the FAFSA Flow Chart.

Your financial aid package may consist of federal, state, or institutional grant or scholarship assistance, and be supplemented with loan and work study funds. The total amount of aid awarded depends on the amount your family can reasonably be expected to contribute, the availability of funds, as well as state and school policies.