Posted: August 28, 2003
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Unless they act quickly, Minnesota college students could lose eligibility for state financial aid this fall.
New deadlines set by the Minnesota Legislature require students to submit applications for the State Grant Program within 14 days of the beginning of their college or university's term, or they will lose their eligibility for that term. As of today, all but two of the 33 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have begun fall semester.
"Now that school has started at most of our colleges and universities, we want to make sure that everyone is aware of these new deadlines for State Grants," said Linda Baer, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
"The State Grants are essential in helping many students to pay for college, and we are concerned they may not be aware of the new early deadlines," Baer said.
The specific deadline will vary, depending on when each college or university's academic term begins. Students who have not yet applied for financial aid this fall should check immediately with their college or university financial aid office.
Students who miss the 14-day deadline will lose eligibility for state grants during that term. In the past, students could apply through the end of an academic year. Minnesota residents are eligible for the grants, which are based on the applicant's financial need and the cost of attendance.
The financial aid application is free of charge. Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA form is used to apply for state grants, federal Pell Grants, federal loans and other financial aid. The form is available from high school counselors, college and university financial aid offices, and on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
The Minnesota Legislature set the new deadlines in the 2003 session. The Minnesota State Grant Program is one of the largest state-funded financial aid programs in the nation and is administered by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office. Approximately $130 million in grants was awarded in 2002-2003 to undergraduate Minnesota residents attending post-secondary educational institutions in Minnesota.
Spending under the program has increased dramatically over the past three years, leading the Legislature to impose the new deadlines as one means of cost control.
More information about financial aid and State Grants also is available from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office at 651-642-0567, toll-free at 1-800-657-3866 or on the Web at www.mheso.state.mn.us.
Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.