State Grants help students from low- and moderate-income families pay for educational expenses at eligible Minnesota colleges or universities. In 2012, approximately:
- 43 percent of State Grant funds goes to students with family incomes below $20,000,
- 37 percent goes to those with incomes between $20,000 and $50,000, and
- 20 percent goes to those with incomes over $50,000.
What Is the Application Process?
There is no charge for applying to the Minnesota State Grant Program. Students can apply for a State Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine the student's and family's expected financial contribution, and is the same form used to apply for the Federal Pell Grant and other types of aid from institutions. To receive a State Grant for a term, the FAFSA must be submitted to the federal processing center within 30 days of the school's term start date.
Which are the "Eligible Institutions" in Minnesota?
Eligible institutions include the state universities, the University of Minnesota, public community and technical colleges, schools of nursing and related health professions, private colleges, and private career institutions in Minnesota. For more information, contact the financial aid office at the school the student is attending or wishes to attend.
State Grants may not be used at out-of-state schools. However, Minnesota has tuition reciprocity agreements with several states and one Canadian province that may help reduce the price of a student's higher education.
Who is Eligible?
Minnesota residents who:
- Are graduates of a secondary school or its equivalent or are at least 17 years of age.
- Will be enrolled as undergraduates for at least three credits at one of more than 130 eligible schools in Minnesota.
Students who are in default of a student loan or who are more than 30 days behind for child support owed to a public agency are NOT eligible, unless they have established payment plans with the appropriate agency.
Students may receive State Grants for four consecutive full-time quarters or three consecutive semesters during the course of a single fiscal year.
State Grants are limited to:
- Students who have not yet attended eight full-time semesters of postsecondary education or the equivalent. Students who have withdrawn for active military service or for a major medical illness while under the care of a physician after December 31, 2002 are given an extra term of eligibility.
- Students who have NOT received a baccalaureate degree.
Students must reapply each year to be considered for a grant. A State Grant can be renewed for up to six full-time semesters or nine quarters (or their equivalent). However, the student must make satisfactory progress and demonstrate financial need as defined in state law.
To receive the full amount of the State Grant, the applicant must be a full-time student (registered for 15 credits per term). Less than full-time students will have their price of attendance prorated based on the actual number of credits. However, the parent or student contribution used in the award formula is NOT reduced if the student takes fewer credits, so a student who is eligible for an award at 15 credits may not qualify at a lower enrollment level. (In a pilot study beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year, students enrolled for fewer than 15 credits at MnSCU campuses will have their parent or student contribution reduced based on their enrollment level, e.g., to 53.3% or 8/15ths for a student enrolled for 8 credits.)
Part-time students with three or more credits can be considered for a State Grant. However, students are encouraged to complete their degree as quickly as possible by registering for as many credits as they can handle each term.
How Much Money Can You Receive?
The maximum award for 2013-2014 ranges from about $6,650 at a public two-year college to $10,450 at a private four-year college. The average award is approximately $1,800. The minimum award is $100 per year.
How Is the Award Determined?
Awards are based on the difference between what students and their families are expected to contribute to pay for the education and the actual price of attending a particular college or university.
However, all applicants are required to contribute at least 50 percent of their price of attendance out of savings, earnings, loans or other assistance from school or private sources. For dependent students, the remaining 50 percent of the price of attendance is met by a contribution from the parents as determined by the federal need analysis (FAFSA)and by the combination of Federal Pell Grant and State Grant awards. For independent students, the remaining 50 percent of the price of attendance is met by a contribution from student's income and assets (as determined by the federal need analysis) and by the combination of Pell and State awards.
Prior to subtracting the federal need analysis contributions within the State Grant award formula, they are adjusted as follows:
- Federal need analysis parent contribution x .96
- Federal need analysis Expected Family Contribution x .50 (independent student without dependents)
- Federal need analysis Expected Family Contribution x .86 (independent student with dependents)
For the State Grant Program, the price of attending a college or university consists of:
- Tuition and fees charged to each student (subject to a tuition maximum set by the legislature).
- A standard allowance established by the Minnesota Legislature for room and board, books and supplies, and miscellaneous expenses.
The price of attendance is pro-rated based on the student's enrollment status.
See examples of the State Grant Award calculation:
The State Grant Program divides the responsibility of paying for a student's higher education between the student, parents, and government (state and federal). This is called Shared Responsibility.
How are Students Notified about their Grants?
Participating schools are required to calculate awards on campus and include the amount of the State Grant in the student's financial aid award notice.