As a veteran residing in Minnesota, you may be entitled to educational benefits from the federal Pell Grant and Minnesota State Grant Programs. Your eligibility for state and federal aid is determined when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
This application can be completed online at www.fafsa.gov. The paper FAFSA becomes available in early winter, and may be obtained from high school counselors, financial aid offices at postsecondary institutions, public libraries and from the Office of Higher Education. You may request a copy by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243. The FAFSA may be completed beginning January 1 for the fall term.
This is a free application process. If the site requests a payment, you are on the wrong site.
To complete the FAFSA, you will need the following financial records:
- your tax return (if filed)
- your parents' Return if you apply as a dependent student
- your spouse's return (if you are married and your spouse filed a separate return)
It also helps to have other records on hand such as W-2 forms, current bank statements, mortgage information, records of untaxed income and business and farm records. Save all your records used to prepare your application in case you are asked to verify that it is correct. School codes needed to complete the FAFSA are available at www.fafsa.gov.
To estimate of your eligibility for federal and Minnesota state financial aid, use the Minnesota financial aid estimator.
Applying as an Independent Student
Generally, if you are a veteran, a member of a reserve force or of the National Guard returning from a tour of active duty of 181 or more consecutive days for purposes other than training, you are able file your FAFSA as an independent student.
Under the Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 2006, individuals who are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training have been added to the list of individuals who are considered to be independent students.
"Active duty" for the purposes of determining eligibility for federal financial aid does not include a call into active duty for state purposes. For example, if a student is a member of the National Guard and is called to perform disaster relief by a state's governor, that student would not be considered an independent student.
Institutions are not required to obtain a copy of military orders or a letter from a base or unit commander attesting to the student's claim that he or she has served on active duty for other than training purposes unless there is conflicting information, the FAFSA does not confirm the student's status as a veteran or the institution has reason to believe the student's information is inaccurate.
Veterans Who Have Experienced Recent Dramatic Changes in Income
Your eligibility for state and federal financial aid is based on your earnings the previous year and other financial factors. Veteran's and members of the Reserve and National Guard who are returning from a call-up to active duty may be earning less now than when they served on active duty.
In this instance, students can appeal to their institution's financial aid office to have current earnings used to calculate their financial aid eligibility. For example, if your National Guard Unit was called-up to active duty in late 2005 for a period of 18 months, and you are now planning to enroll in college in 2007, your earnings will likely be significantly lower.
The Federal Pell and Minnesota State Grant Programs allow financial aid administrators to use professional judgment on a case-by-case basis, to alter the FAFSA results as appropriate. This is done at the discretion of the financial aid professional. For more information about filing an appeal, please contact your financial aid office.