Financial Aid

Overall, 67% of Minnesota State students — or 64% of our college students and 69% of our university students — receive some form or combination of financial aid to help pay for college or offset costs.

Regardless of what college or university you attend, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in determining your financial aid eligibility. Visit Federal Student Aid for more information and to apply.

Students with financial need may qualify for scholarships and grants that do not have to be paid back if requirements are met, such as the Charles and Ellora Alliss Education Foundation Scholarship or the North Star Promise.

North Star Promise Scholarship

Beginning in fall 2024, the North Star Promise Scholarship program will create a tuition free pathway to higher education for eligible Minnesota residents at any of the 26 state colleges and seven state universities of Minnesota State. This is Minnesota’s new “Free College” program.

To be eligible for with scholarship, 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 (including Minnesota State) 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 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

To learn more about the North Star Promise Scholarship, head over to Minnesota Office of Higher Education’s website.

American Indian Scholars Program

The American Indian Scholars Program provides a tuition and fee free pathway for Minnesotans eligible for resident tuition who are enrolled members or citizens of any federally recognized tribe or Canadian First Nation. Students not eligible for resident tuition who are enrolled members or citizens of a Minnesota Tribal Nation are also eligible for the program.

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate certificate, diploma, or degree program at a Minnesota State institution or a campus of the University of Minnesota
  • Not have already obtained a bachelor’s degree
  • Have fewer than 180 credits attended at the college-level and
  • Be either a:
    • Minnesota resident who qualifies for resident tuition and an enrolled member or citizen of a federally recognized American Indian Tribe or Canadian First Nation; or
    • Student who does not qualify for resident tuition but is an enrolled member or citizen of a Minnesota Tribal Nation.

Students who are active military or veterans may also qualify for the GI Bill or other financial resources and should check with their college or university financial aid office or veteran resource center.  

Some students may also benefit from federal tax credit programs. Consult with a tax professional or visit the IRS website at for more information. 

Visit our Financial Aid Video Portal to learn more about financing your education and the financial aid process.

For specific financial aid deadlines, help with completing the FAFSA, or questions related to your financial aid awards, contact your Minnesota State college or university financial aid office.

Types of Financial Aid

Federal and state grants are based on financial need and do not have to be paid back. These are determined through your FAFSA.

Scholarships are typically based on financial need, academic or athletic merit, or other special interests and do not have to be paid back. Applying for scholarships is separate from your FAFSA, so students should inquire with their college or university about what scholarships are available and how to apply.

Student Loans
Student loans are borrowed funds through the federal government or private banks and must be paid back. They usually have lower interest rates and more manageable repayment term options. Federal loan eligibility is determined through your FAFSA. Private loans are processed directly with your bank.

Work Study
Work study programs provide students with paid jobs either on campus or off campus with approved employers. Eligibility is determined through your FAFSA, but you must also apply for the job opportunities with your college or university. The money is paid directly to students as a paycheck.