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Minnesota Future Together Grants to Provide Tuition-Free Pathways for High Need Careers

9/3/2021


 

Saint Paul, MN — Today, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) announced new Minnesota Future Together Grants, which will support students pursuing degrees in high need career areas. The $35 million investment is part of Governor Walz's allocation of American Rescue Plan funds, and seeks to increase the number of qualified workers for careers in the following areas: health care, business, STEM, industry and technology, education, and public service.

"Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers have kept Minnesota running. I am in awe of the incredible resilience of our health care workers, educators, public safety workers, and technicians," OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson said. "These grants will help educate the next generation of frontline workers by providing tuition-free pathways to Minnesotans seeking careers in these high need fields. This will not only support economic development, but also play a critical role in advancing efforts to meet our goal of having 70 percent of Minnesotans, aged 25 to 44, attain a postsecondary certificate or degree by 2025.

"I want to thank President Biden for his American Rescue Plan, which made these funds available, and Governor Walz for prioritizing this investment in Minnesota students."

Minnesota Future Together Grants will create tuition-free pathways for eligible students at any Tribal College or public institution in Minnesota. For spring 2022, Tribal Colleges and public institutions will be able to opt-in to offering the grants for students, with statewide rollout starting in fall 2022. Eligibility will be determined each semester, based on a student's financial aid profile, with grants ranging from $100-15,400. Exact amount awarded is based on cost of education after other need based aid like Pell and Minnesota State Grants have been applied. Grants will be awarded as long as funds are available, with the program expected to end in 2024.

Program Eligibility

What careers are considered high need areas?

Minnesota Future Together Grants will be awarded to students earning a credential or two-year or four-year degree in a high need career areas. In determining what careers are considered "high need," OHE used data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Eligible career areas are:

  • Healthcare: High need programs include nursing, medical assisting, surgical technicians, healthcare social workers, EMTS, paramedics, and substance abuse and mental health counselors.
  • STEM: High need programs include software development, software analysts, industrial engineers, web developers, mechanical engineers, statisticians
  • Business: High need programs include accounting, financial management, auditors, project managers
  • Industry and Technology: High need programs include machine tool technologists, operations managers, HVAC technicians, front line supervisors, plumbers, construction managers, electricians/electrical line workers, heavy duty mechanics
  • Education: High need programs include teachers, principals, early childhood educators, childcare workers, school counselors and social workers
  • Public service: High need programs include law enforcement officers, probation officers, firefighters

Additional eligibility requirements:

Students must meet the standard eligibility requirements for OHE programs as well as the specific program requirements indicated below:

  • Have a Family Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) reported on FAFSA or State Aid Application of less than $100,000 and have worked in a critical industry listed in Executive Order 20-74 at least part-time between March 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021; or received unemployment benefits between March 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021; OR
  • Have a Family AGI reported on FAFSA or State Aid Application less than $50,000

OHE will provide updates on our website as implementation of this program progresses. For questions, please contact our state grants department at info.ohe@state.mn.us.