Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
Once 2009 Taxes are Completed, Students and Families have Information Needed to Apply
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education urges all new and returning undergraduate college students to apply for financial aid to help them pay for education in academic year 2010- 2011. Students apply online, submitting prior-year income and other information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available at fafsa.ed.gov. The federal application determines a student's eligibility for state and federal need-based grants and loans, and is used by some colleges to award additional grants and scholarships.
It's free to apply, and students may begin applying now for the fall 2010 term.
"Financial aid has helped thousands of Minnesotans attend college," said David Metzen, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "Students and families should apply now to get the process started."
Much like a tax form, the FAFSA has been shortened in recent years and requires an average of one hour for students and their families to complete. While the application deadline to receive federal aid is June 30, 2011 for the 2010-11 academic year, the application is also used to apply for aid from state financial aid programs and colleges with earlier deadlines. Some college scholarship deadlines are as early as February.
Six tips for students seeking aid:
- Attend one of several events across the state where professionals are helping high school students and families complete the FAFSA and answering questions.
- Review the questions on the FAFSA worksheet before you get started, to make sure you have what you need. Find the worksheet at fafsa.ed.gov.
- If you don't have your tax information ready, use the financial aid estimator (www.ohe.state.mn.us/estimator) on the Office of Higher Education's Web site, to get an idea of the amount of aid for which you may be eligible. Aid is based on your finances, the price of the school you attend and other factors. Students may also complete the FAFSA using estimated tax figures and make corrections later.
- Apply every year. If you or your family's income has changed dramatically in recent months, notify the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend immediately. With documentation, they may be able to adjust your application to reflect your current financial situation.
- Apply separately for scholarships offered by the colleges you wish to attend. Deadlines can be as early as February. For a sampling of scholarships at Minnesota institutions, visit www.ohe.state.mn.us/mnscholarships.
- Federal tax credits and deductions may help students and families offset the costs of college. Learn about them at www.ohe.state.mn.us/taxbenefits.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Financial Aid Administrators, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a state agency providing financial aid programs and information to students about preparing and paying for college.