North Star Promise Scholarship Program
Beginning in fall 2024, the North Star Promise (NSP) Scholarship program will create a tuition and fee-free pathway to higher education for eligible Minnesota residents at eligible institutions as a "last-dollar" program by covering the balance of tuition and fees remaining after other scholarships, grants, stipends and tuition waivers have been applied.
Click here to download the North Star Promise Program Fact Sheet.
The North Star Promise Fact Sheet is also available in Spanish. Click here to download.
By making college accessible and affordable, NSP is intended to have a positive impact on multiple fronts:
- Help stabilize enrollment at Minnesota public institutions of higher education;
- Serve as an economic driver for Minnesota by educating qualified workers who are much needed to fill vacancies in the state's labor force;
- Create a viable higher education path for Minnesota residents who may have previously thought education was not a possibility for them.
We estimate this program will impact 15,000-20,000 students in the first academic year.
Who is eligible?
Eligible students must:
- Be a Minnesota resident
- Have a family Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Minnesota Dream Act Application below $80,000.
- Attend a Minnesota public higher education institution or Tribal College
- Not be in default on a state or federal student loan
- Be enrolled taking at least one credit
- Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards
- Have not already earned a baccalaureate degree
- Be enrolled in a program or course of study that applies to a degree, diploma, or certificate
What is the application process?
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Minnesota Dream Act Application
- There is no additional application beyond the FAFSA or Minnesota Dream Act Application. The eligible college or university you are attending will assess your eligibility on a term-by-term basis and award North Star Promise Scholarships to all eligible students.
Which higher education institutions in Minnesota are considered “eligible institutions”?
- All Minnesota public higher education institutions and Tribal Colleges will be eligible.
- All Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
- All University of Minnesota campuses
- All Tribal Colleges
How much money can you receive?
- There is not a limit on the maximum term, yearly, or lifetime dollar amount of an award you can receive. The amount you receive is based on the "last-dollar" calculation of your eligibility on a term-by-term basis. You can receive up to 100% of the amount charged in tuition and required fees per term, minus all other sources of gift aid you receive.
- For students earning 2-year degrees, you can receive the award for a total of 60 credits. For students earning 4-year degrees, you can receive the award for a total of 120 credits.
- If funds are available, the highest need students may also receive North Star Promise Plus funds. The details on this provision of the program are still being determined.
How is the award determined?
- The college or university you are attending will calculate your award amount based on the eligibility requirements and award calculation. They will determine your tuition and required fee charges, subtract all other sources of gift aid (scholarships, grants, waivers and stipends) and award the remaining amount in a North Star Promise scholarship.
How are students notified about their scholarship?
- Students are notified of their scholarship through the college or university’s standard awarding process.
What does “last-dollar” mean?
- Before calculating your award, “last-dollar” programs consider any other sources of gift aid funding that you receive. “Gift aid” is financial aid that does not require repayment, such as scholarships, grants, stipends, third-party payments and tuition waivers. Loans and work study are not sources of gift aid. The goal of this strategy is to utilize available program funds to provide as many eligible students as possible a tuition and fee-free pathway to a college education.
Is the scholarship renewable? If so, for how long?
- As a last-dollar scholarship, this award is calculated on a term-by-term basis. If new sources of gift aid are awarded to you, the North Star Promise scholarship will be recalculated.
- You must continue to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards at your school.
- There is no maximum length of time for which you can receive the award. However, for students earning 2-year degrees, you can receive the award for a total of 60 credits. For students earning 4-year degrees, you can receive the award for a total of 120 credits. The maximum credits for which any student is eligible is a total of 120 credits.
Can I be eligible for the scholarship, but not receive an award?
- Yes. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, but the total of your other sources of “gift aid” already covers the amount of your tuition and required fees, you will not be awarded a North Star Promise Scholarship. This is because the sum of your other aid has already provided you with enough funds to cover your tuition and required fees charges.
- However, if you do not receive a North Star Promise Scholarship because other financial aid already covers your tuition and fees, you will still be considered for the North Star Promise Plus funds. The details on this provision of the program are still being determined.
Is there an age restriction on the North Star Promise Scholarship?
In order to qualify, do I have to be a new, first-time student for 2024-25 school year?
- No, the program is open to new and returning students who meet the eligibility criteria.
Who should I contact if I have more questions?