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Undocumented students can apply for state financial aid by accessing the online MN Dream Act - State Financial Aid application. To be eligible for the MN State Grant, the application must be submitted no later than the 30th day of the term. The results of the application can also be used to qualify for in-state tuition rates at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. Students attending Minnesota State campuses should also use this application to apply for state financial aid, but should apply for in-state tuition rates directly with the Minnesota State campus.
The MN Dream Act application should be submitted once for each academic year the student is enrolled in college.
The MN Dream Act (also known as The Prosperity Act) was introduced by Senator Sandra Pappas (SF723) and Representative Carlos Mariani (HF875) and was included in the omnibus Higher Education bill passed by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013.
The MN Dream Act will provide certain benefits to undocumented students who meet the following criteria:
Students who meet the criteria in the MN Dream Act will be eligible for the following benefits:
All of the benefits provided by the bill were available to qualifying students for any term starting on or after July 1, 2013.
After the student submits the MN Dream Act application, the student will receive an email letting the student know the following information will need to be submitted to the MN Office of Higher Education to prove the student meets the requirements in the law. This information will only need to be provided the FIRST year the student applies.
Copy of Selective Service card showing the student registered with the U.S. Selective Service. This requirement only applies to males ages 18 to 25 years old, whose only way of establishing MN resident student status is via the MN Dream Act. *See additional info below. If the student has not yet registered with Selective Service, the student should do so now. If the student has a Social Security number, the student can register Online at www.sss.gov. Confirmation of registration will be sent to the student within two weeks. If the student does not have a Social Security number, the student should download the form here and submit it, along with all other documentation, to the MN Office of Higher Education. The paper Selective Service System Registration Form must be completed in black ink and in capital letters only. The document cannot be emailed or faxed to the MN Office of Higher Education; the original form must be mailed to:
MN Office of Higher Education
State Grant Unit
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108.
The MN Office of Higher Education will make a copy of the form and mail the original to the Selective Service System on behalf of the student.
* For purposes of Minnesota state financial aid, there are ten definitions of who is a resident student. If the only way a male student age 18-25 can meet a residency definition is the MN Dream Act way of establishing residency, then the student must register with the U.S. Selective Service. If a male student age 18-25 can meet any other definition of residency, then registration with the U.S. Selective Service is not required. Selective Service only applies to individuals who are identified as male at the time of birth and who are ages 18-25.
A few examples of student situations where the student has met a residency definition other than the Dream Act way of establishing residency and is not required to register for the Selective Service:
Keep in mind, some students may meet multiple residency definitions. For example, a student may be lawfully present in Minnesota under DACA for the past six years while attending middle and high school and then graduate from a Minnesota high school. In this example, the student meets 3 definitions of residency: lawfully residing in Minnesota for at least one year without attending a college or university, graduating from a Minnesota high school while lawfully present and also the MN Dream Act way of establishing residency (attend a Minnesota high school for at least 3 years and graduate from a MN high school or earn a GED).
DACA students will qualify for benefits if they meet the criteria for the MN Dream Act. DACA students who don't meet the MN Dream Act criteria may still be eligible for state financial aid if they can meet at least one of the criteria in the state residency law used for financial aid after they have been granted DACA. For example, one of the criteria in the state residency definition is graduating from a Minnesota high school while residing in Minnesota, so the student would need to prove DACA was granted prior to high school graduation. DACA students will be required to submit proof of DACA. DACA students who do NOT meet any of the MN Dream Act or state residency criteria will NOT be eligible for state financial aid.
Probably not. The MN State Grant award will vary based upon the student's financial situation, enrollment level and the price of the college attended. It is meant to be a supplement to the Federal Pell Grant, which is the main federal need-based grant program. Even though undocumented students cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant, the amount of Federal Pell Grant for which the student would have qualified must be factored into the MN State Grant award calculation. This means the MN State Grant might be fairly low for students from low-income families who would qualify for Federal Pell Grants. The MN State Grant award notice you receive from the MN Office of Higher Education will display the amount of your MN State Grant for each credit level. Here are sample State Grant annual (two semesters or three quarters) awards [.pptx] at different types of colleges for a student from a very low-income family.
Eligible DACA students with work authorization and Social Security numbers can be considered for State Work Study funding, which allows the student to earn money working on campus. Eligible MN Dream Act students can also apply for a Postsecondary Child Care Grant, which is a need-based grant to students with children in child care while they attend school. These programs have limited funding and are administered by campus financial aid offices, so students should contact the financial aid office at the college they attend after completing the online state financial aid application to complete further paperwork for those programs. MN Dream Act students will also be eligible for tuition reciprocity benefits to attend a public college or university in North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin. Any DACAmented or undocumented student can currently apply for a state SELF loan, which does not require the student borrower to have legal status, but does require a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
To be eligible for a MN State Grant, the student must submit the online state financial aid application no later than the 30th day of the term. Deadlines for other state financial aid programs administered on campus are determined by the college the student is attending.
No. Financial aid programs have other requirements all applicants must meet, such as demonstrating financial need. It simply means these students are eligible to apply for and receive state financial aid on the same basis as documented students.
No. The MN Dream Act is a state law that provides state benefits to Minnesota residents regardless of federal immigration status. Federal financial aid programs require students to be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens to apply for and receive federal financial aid.