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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.

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.

 
 
 

Eligibility Requirements

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 (including those earned in a foreign country)
  • Be enrolled in a program or course of study that applies to a degree, diploma, or certificate
 

Eligible Institutions

All Minnesota public higher education institutions and Tribal Colleges will be eligible.

 

An institution may offer programs that are not eligible for Federal Title IV Aid and Minnesota financial aid.

Typically, this is because the program length is too short to meet requirements for federal and state financial aid.

 

 

The Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) comes from the Federal 1040 Income Tax Return. The first year of the program is the 2024-2025 academic year and the corresponding FAFSA or Minnesota dream Act application asks about prior, prior year AGI. In other words, the AGI from 2022.  This can be found on line 11 of the 1040.

Dependent students will have the AGI of their parent(s), and stepparent if applicable, considered for the program’s family AGI threshold of below $80,000. The AGI of dependent students will not be considered.  When parents are divorced, separated or never married, and do not live together, the parent who provides more financial support to the student should be the parent of record for the FAFSA or Minnesota Dream Act.  This is the parent whose income will be reviewed when determining eligibility for North Star Promise.  If the parent who provides more financial support has remarried as of the date the FAFSA or Minnesota Dream Act is filed, the stepparent’s AGI will also be taken into account when determining eligibility.

Independent students will have the AGI of the student considered for program eligibility.   If the student is married, the student and spouse's combined AGI must be below $80,000 in order to be eligible for the North Star Promise Scholarship. You can review what makes a student either dependent or independent here.

 

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.

 

Note: The 2024-25 FAFSA and Minnesota Dream Act are now available for students to complete.

 

 

North Star Promise Award Information

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • Students are notified of their scholarship through the college or university’s standard awarding process.

 

  • 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. 

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

 

  • No, family or household size are not considered.

 

  • No, the program is open to new and returning students who meet the eligibility criteria.

 

North Star Promise Promotional Toolkit

North Star Promise Program One Page Fact Sheet

English  Version

Spanish Version

Hmong Version

Somali Version

Talking Points Document

Click to download

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Click to download

 

Graphics are sized 1080 x 1080 px and are available in .JPEG format. To download an image, right click on the image and select "Save Image As."

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This sample text was developed for high school and college access partners to use in social media posts on Facebook, Twitter/X, and Instagram:

Calling all MN High School Seniors: If you're considering college, but worried about cost, the North Star Promise program may cover the FULL COST of your tuition & fees. Students must attend a public college in MN & have an annual income of <$80k. Learn more: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

Starting in fall 2024, the new North Star Promise Scholarship program will cover the FULL COST of tuition and fees for students attending a MN public college w/an annual income of <$80k. Learn more: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

Are you currently a student at @MinnStateEdu, @UMNews, or Tribal College? Starting in fall 2024, the North Star Promise may cover the FULL COST of your tuition and fees. This new scholarship is available to students w/an annual income of <$80k. Learn more: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

Are you a Minnesotan who wants to go back to college and finish your degree? Starting in fall 2024, North Star Promise may cover the FULL COST of your tuition and fees. This new scholarship is available to students w/an annual income of <$80k. Learn more: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

Everyone deserves the chance to pursue higher ed. That's why we're breaking down financial barriers w/ North Star Promise. If you enroll in a public college & have an annual income of <$80k, North Star may cover the FULL COST of your tuition & fees: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

Earn your degree TUITION FREE in MN. With the new North Star Promise, you may have the full cost of tuition and fees covered. You must earn an annual income <$80k and be working toward a certificate, diploma or degree at a public college. Full eligibility: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

Does your family earn less than $80K annually? Earn your certificate, diploma or degree and we'll pick up the cost of your tuition and fees. The new North Star Promise Scholarship makes college dreams attainable for more Minnesotans. Learn more: www.ohe.state.mn.us/northstarpromise

 

Use the 1920 x 1080 px graphic to share information about the North Star Promise program on your college campus or high school tv monitors. To download to image, right click on the graphic and select "Save Image As."

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