The New Benefit can be used at public or private universities, colleges and career schools in Minnesota
Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
All Minnesota service members, including those returning home this summer from their deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, will have access to a new scholarship program proposed and signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty earlier this year.
The Minnesota GI Bill provides financial assistance to Minnesota veterans and service members who served on or after September 11, 2001. Full-time undergraduate or graduate students may be eligible to receive up to $1,000 per term and part-time students can receive up to $500 per term. The benefit is available to any eligible veteran or service member attending public or private universities, colleges and career schools in Minnesota.
The Governor and Minnesota Legislature appropriated $6 million per year for Minnesota GI Bill assistance during the 2007 legislative session.
"Our words of appreciation to members of the military must be accompanied by actions," Governor Pawlenty said. "The Minnesota GI Bill we proposed and passed this year reflects our commitment to veterans by providing additional financial assistance to help defray educational costs. It is one way to recognize their sacrifices while serving our state and nation."
The new state benefit is in addition to existing federal and state military benefits and other need-based grants offered by the state or federal government. There is no income eligibility requirement to receive the benefit, however it is not awarded to students whose financial assistance from the state and federal government already equals or exceeds the total cost of tuition.
The benefit is also available to surviving spouses or children of veterans who have died as a result of their military service or have a total and permanent service connected disability as a result of their military service.
"The new Minnesota GI Bill will assist with the expense of higher learning for our very deserving veterans and their family members," said Clark Dyrud, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs."
"The applications are now available online," said Susan Heegaard, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, which is the agency administering the new program. "To be eligible, students may be pursuing a certificate, diploma, bachelor's degree or a graduate degree. And they have until the last day of the term to apply for the benefit, which gives them some flexibility."
A one-page online application for the Minnesota GI Bill is available at www.ohe.state.mn.us/military. More information is also available by calling the Minnesota Office of Higher Education at (651) 642-0675 or by contacting a regional representative of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Before applying for the Minnesota GI Bill, veterans and eligible service members must first apply for state and federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.gov or by contacting the financial aid office at their college.