Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
New Aid Available to Students Who Take Rigorous High School Courses
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education reminds students planning to attend college next fall to apply now for financial aid. Beginning January 1, students and families may submit financial aid applications for the fall 2008 term. A single application - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid - can determine students' eligibility for a wide range of federal, state and college-specific financial aid.
"You will never know what you are missing if you don't apply for financial aid," said Susan Heegaard, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "It costs nothing to apply. Many students and families are surprised to find they qualify for some financial aid."
The FAFSA is submitted to the federal government and the results are then forwarded to the colleges designated by the student on the form. With this information, colleges and universities construct a financial aid package for the student and typically send the information to the student in a letter.
The FAFSA may be completed online at www.fafsa.gov. Paper applications can be obtained by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or downloading the form at www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov. Students returning to school who completed the FAFSA last year should file the Renewal FAFSA application.
New this year is a state scholarship for students who complete a rigorous course of study in high school. The Achieve Scholarship is a one-time award of $1,200 to Minnesota students whose families' Adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 and who has completed a series of college-preparatory courses while in high school. Details on eligibility and a required separate application for this scholarship are available at www.getreadyforcollege.org/achieve. A grant with similar academic requirements is available through the federal government for students with financial need. Details on this program are available at www.getreadyforcollege.org/ac.
"Completing the FAFSA can take time, but it's a worthwhile effort," said Susan Heegaard. "Too many students and families rule out some or all their college options, based on the sticker prices they hear about. College is a huge investment. But financial aid can bring the price of college into reach for many."
Detailed information on state and federal financial aid programs is available from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education at www.getreadyforcollege.org. Families may request a copy of Paying for College under "Publications". The site also includes a financial aid estimator (www.getreadyforcollege.org/estimator). It can provide families with a general sense of eligibility for federal and state aid, federal higher education tax credits and provides information on institutional scholarship available at some Minnesota schools. Students and families needing help completing the FAFSA should contact the student's high school counselor, a college admissions representative or attend one of several scheduled college goal events listed at www.mncollegegoalsunday.org.