Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
St. Paul, MN--As many as 100,000 Minnesota State Grant recipients could see a modest increase in their grant award next fall, based on new projections released today by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE). Revised college enrollment numbers, and recent increases in the federal Pell Grant program, have freed up additional State Grant dollars--meaning thousands of low- and middle-income college students could see a one-time increase of up to $200 in their State Grant award next fall.
"Any additional help we can give students to cover the cost of pursuing a postsecondary education is good news," said Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller. "This modest adjustment to the State Grant program builds on the work Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature began last session to have grant awards be more realistic in covering the actual cost of college, enabling many students to take on less debt."
OHE projects that after all awards are distributed to eligible students, the $182 million Minnesota State Grant program will have an additional $17.6 million left on the bottom line. These projections are based on assumptions for enrollment, cost of tuition and fees, and changes in wages and federal changes in financial aid policy, including Pell Grants.
Commissioner Pogemiller said Friday that in addition to the data used to determine the new projections, several other unknown factors could impact State Grant spending, including updated enrollment and wage data.
Under state law, OHE is authorized to increase State Grant awards if base resources exceed projected spending. Commissioner Pogemiller said the additional grant dollars will be used to provide a one-time increase of up to $200 per grant recipient for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Minnesota State Grant Program is the largest financial aid program funded by the state, awarding up to $180 million in need-based grants to over 100,000 Minnesota residents attending eligible colleges and universities in Minnesota.