More than 60 percent of students in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities receive financial aid to help pay the cost of college. Tax credits for students also can help lower your net costs.
How to apply for financial aid
Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid after Jan. 1 of your senior year. You can complete the form online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or pick up the form at your school counselor's office.
For help in completing the form, go to your high school counselor or the financial aid office at the college or university you plan to attend.
Financial aid deadlines
Students must submit applications within 30 days after the beginning of a college or university term to receive a state grant for that term. But, it is a good idea to complete that process before the term begins. Contact the admissions office of the college or university to find out about the deadline.
As you begin college, you will need to learn important skills that will help you manage your money now and in the future. Money management covers a variety of topics, including budgeting, credit cards and credit rating, debt management, how to identify financial troubles and finding resources to help.
Four kinds of financial aid
Many students rely on a combination of these types of financial aid to help them pay for college.
Scholarships are a great source of aid, and you do not need to pay them back. Many scholarships are available for students with special interests and backgrounds. Talk to your guidance counselor about what scholarships you can apply for.
You may be able to receive federal and state grants of $300 to more than $9,000 per year. You do not need to pay these back.
- Work study
Work-study programs give you the opportunity to work on campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay for college. Work-study jobs are often very flexible, allowing you to work around your class and personal schedules.
- Student Loans
You also may be eligible for student loans, which must be paid back. Student loans usually have a lower interest rate than other kinds of loans.
Some college students also benefit from two federal tax credit programs, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. These may apply to you or your family, depending on your financial circumstances.
If you've served in the armed forces, you might be eligible for help with paying for college. Stop by one of the on-campus veterans centers for information, support and assistance. Also, check with the financial aid office about benefits from the new Minnesota GI Bill.