2 - Understanding Financial Aid

M State financial aid mission

Ensure all students are served in a timely, fair, equitable, unbiased and respectful manner, according to provisions of the laws and regulations established by the Department of Education and the State of Minnesota.

Types of financial aid

Gift aid/grants (do not need to be paid back):
  • Alliss Two-Year Opportunity Grant: Available if you have a financial need and are enrolled in AA, AS, AAS, AFA, diploma, certificate and Minnesota Transfer Curriculum courses designed to transfer to baccalaureate programs. When you enroll, you are automatically considered for the Allis Grant as part of the financial aid process. If you have already earned a bachelor's degree, you are not eligible.
  • Federal Pell Grant: This amount is determined by the Department of Education as part of your FAFSA, and is awarded automatically.
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Available if you have great financial need and are registered for six or more applicable credits. Funds are limited, and early applicants receive priority.
  • Minnesota State Grant: This amount is determined by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as part of your FAFSA, and is awarded automatically.
  • Postsecondary Child Care Grant: This is a State of Minnesota program. If you are a Minnesota resident and will not receive TANF/MFIP benefits while attending college, you may be eligible for benefits to offset your costs of child care. An application is required. Student loses eligibility after four years of full-time enrollment. Funds are limited, and early applicants receive priority.

Types of federal student aid

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Other sources of financial aid

  • Work study: Part-time on-campus employment of no more than 10 hours per week may be an option for you if you are eligible for work study funds as part of your college financial aid package. Contact your campus financial aid office for information on the positions available and your eligibility.
  • Scholarships: Scholarship information is available on each campus.
  • Loans: Almost every student can qualify for some type of student loan. (Loans must be paid back.) All loan requests must be received at least 15 days prior to the your last day of attendance. Loans are disbursed by term. You must be enrolled for six credits or more per semester to receive a loan.
    1. Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans: Eligibility is based on financial need. A freshman may borrow up to $3,500 depending upon eligibility. The maximum loan amount for a sophomore in the second year of a two-year program is $4,500. This loan has a fixed interest rate.
      • Subsidized: The federal government pays interest while the student is in school. Interest and loan repayment begin six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment.
      • Unsubsidized: Similar to the subsidized loan, but the student is charged interest while in college. The borrower can accrue and capitalize the interest, which will increase the amount borrowed. Repayment of interest begins during school enrollment unless deferred. Students who do not qualify for a subsidized loan will likely qualify for an unsubsidized loan.
    2. Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): If you're a dependent student, your parents may borrow up to the cost of education minus any financial aid received by the student. Repayment begins immediately with the first payment due 30-60 days after the loan is disbursed. This loan has a fixed interest rate. Credit-worthiness of the parent/step-parent is required. Download the application here.
    3. Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF): Minnesota residents and non-residents are eligible to borrow. The lender is the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. A credit-worthy co-signer is required. You must be enrolled for six credits or more per semester to receive this loan, and must pay the interest every three months from the time of disbursement. Freshman limit is $10,000, and sophomore limit is $10,000.
    4. Dakota Education Alternative Loan (DEAL): North Dakota residents and non-residents are eligible to borrow through the Bank of North Dakota. A credit-worthy co-signer is required for borrowers under age 24. You must be currently enrolled. The maximum amount you can borrow is equal to the cost of attendance at M State minus all other financial aid received for the loan period.
  • American Indian Scholars Program: This program, established in the 2023 Minnesota legislative session, provides a tuition- and fee-free pathway for eligible Minnesotans (see eligibility requirements below) to attend a Minnesota State institution. The program provides a first-dollar tuition- and fee-free pathway, meaning eligible students will have their tuition and fees paid through the program. Eligible students should complete the American Indian Scholars Program application and submit their tribal enrollment documentation (card or paperwork is acceptable). Allow 2-3 weeks for processing of your application. You can view your award information in your financial aid award notice in your eServices account.
    To be eligible, students must:
    • Be enrolled in an undergraduate certificate, diploma, or degree program at a Minnesota State institution;
    • 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.
  • Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program: If you are a student with one-fourth or more of American Indian ancestry, you may qualify for benefits through the Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program. This program provides supplemental scholarship assistance to eligible applicants. Additional eligibility requirements include financial need, Minnesota residency, possession of a high school degree or GED, and ability to benefit from advanced education. A Minnesota Indian Scholarship award is subject to final approval by the Minnesota Indian Scholarship Committee. For more information or appropriate forms, contact either the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Minnesota State Department of Education.
  • Agency funding: Many organizations fund students who attend our college. Most of this funding is not controlled by the individual college; we merely communicate and coordinate with these agencies. These include: Veterans Educational Benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, JTPA, Motivation Education Training, Workers Compensation, Indian Scholarship Assistance Program and Rural Minnesota CEP. For more information, contact the appropriate agency directly.
  • Minnesota Future Together Grants: This program is designed to provide eligible Minnesota residents a tuition-free pathway for earning a certificate, diploma, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree in high-need careers. Funding comes from the State of Minnesota and is awarded to eligible students after grants and scholarships have been paid. Grants were first available starting spring 2022 and will continue through 2024 OR until all funds are dispensed, whichever comes first.
  • Veterans Funding: Veterans educational benefits may be available to veterans and, in some instances, spouses or dependents of veterans.

M State hosts an interactive website for veterans and their families. A partnership between M State, Minnesota Online and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has created MyMilitaryEducation.org to provide a one-stop site with information about educational opportunities and benefits for military personnel and their families.

An M State distance credentialed counselor and a team of online advisers work to provide real-time, interactive assistance. Veterans and their families can also call the center at 800.456.8519 for information. The center provides information and assistance for veterans interested in attending any college or university in Minnesota.

Veterans Benefit Information: New students who have not previously used the GI Bill® must complete an application for benefits VA form 22-1990. If you are applying for benefits based on your active duty service, a certified copy of your DD 214 must be submitted. If you are applying for benefits based on your service in the Guard or Reserve, a copy of your Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE) must be submitted. New students who are receiving benefits based on a parent's or spouse's service must complete VA form 22-5490. These forms are on the VA website.

New students who are transferring their veterans benefits must complete a Change of Place of Training VA Form 22-1995. All students must go to the link GI Bill Sign-Up and complete the on-line form.

Processing of veterans benefits is a timely process (usually taking weeks). If you do not believe you will receive your benefits prior to the beginning of the term, please contact your campus business office to complete a deferment/payment plan.

Additional Financial Assistance for Veterans: MyMilitary GPS LifePlan is a comprehensive website where service members and veterans can explore options for funding their college education based on their military service. The site includes information about financial aid, scholarships, education benefits and tax-related benefits.

MyMilitaryEducation.org provides information about using both military education benefits and how veteran status is defined for student aid purposes.

Veteran benefits sign-up form

Additional resources

· Important information on M State tuition charges, payments and important dates is available here.

· The Federal Student Aid website provides information about creating and using your FSA ID, which is needed to electronically sign your online FAFSA and Master Promissory Note (MPN).

· FAFSA on the Web is the Department of Education's free online financial aid application.

· Specific financial aid programs are targeted for veterans.

· The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has information on state financial aid programs, reciprocity, child care and SELF loans.

· The Federal Student Aid Estimator will help you estimate your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant and Minnesota State Grant. This calculation is based on your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and the cost of attendance at the Minnesota institution you select.

· Social Security Administration provides information on how to change the name on your Social Security card or request a replacement card.

· Selective Service System provides a link to on-line registration with the Selective Service System. All males between the ages of 18-26 must be registered with Selective Service.

· The Smart Student Guide provides a wealth of information about financial aid, including and EFC Estimator, College Cost Projector, Savings Projector, scholarship information and links to scholarship searches.

· Request a copy of your federal tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service.

· Emergency Assistance: The M State Emergency Fund was created to assist students in overcoming emergency barriers that have come up and are keeping the student from completing their coursework. An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and possibly dangerous situation requiring immediate action. Examples include, but are not limited to car repairs, rental assistance to prevent eviction, childcare payments, medical bills, or food insecurities. Please note that Community Resources will still be our first line in assistance to our students.

We have limited funding and this grant is intended to fill the gaps where community resources may not be able to assist. This is not a scholarship and requests should be specific in dollar amount to your need. Be very specific in your request. Provide details about who/what needs to be paid. Give the reviewers a complete picture of how your situation demonstrates an emergency. Checks are written to third parties, meaning property owners, repair shops, daycare providers. This may mean providing a copy of late notice, leases, or estimates from repair shops, etc.

Guidelines are as follows for review of applications:

o Applications are only accepted when the Fall/Spring semester is in session.

o Student must have a completed FAFSA for the term for which they are applying for an emergency grant and is Pell eligible. Non-eligible students may still apply if there are documented extenuating circumstances.

o Student must be enrolled with a minimum of 6 credits.

o Be in good academic standing (2.0 GPA and 67% completion rate).

o Applications are complete and a plan has been agreed upon between the student and college social worker for a resolution.

o Checks will be written to third party vendors.

o Any granted funds will be attached to your financial aid as "additional aid."

o Funds can NOT be used for: credit card payments, legal fees, books, tuition, and things of that nature.

o Students are encouraged to reach out to the College Social Worker for assistance with non-emergent needs.

Rights and responsibilities

You have the right to:

  • Receive sufficient information to understand financial aid programs and procedures.
  • The FAFSA opens October 1 of each year prior to the start of each school year. File your FAFSA from this date through mid-May to increase your opportunity for campus-based aid, including grant and work-study aid. You can apply for some programs including Federal Pell Grants and student loans at any time during the school year.
  • Receive adequate consideration for financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis, and in accordance with applicable laws, statutes and M State policies.
  • Discuss eligibility with Financial Aid staff.
  • Request consideration for unique or extenuating financial circumstances
  • Request information regarding your student loan indebtedness, repayment obligations and options and a projected repayment schedule.
  • Request the College's refund policy, Return of Title IV funds policy and the Financial Aid satisfactory academic progress policy.

You have the responsibility to:

  • Apply for and maintain your Federal FSA ID. Your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature.
  • Keep your address in the Registration Office current at all times.
  • Open and read all communication from M State.
  • Become informed about and complete the application process.
  • Apply by the May 15th priority deadline for maximum consideration for all aid programs.
  • Use accurate financial data when applying to ensure correct assessment of your financial need.
  • Return requested forms, information and documentation when asked for by the Financial Aid Office.
  • Complete the verification process, if required.
  • Follow instructions and procedures described in financial aid communications and on the Financial Aid website minnesota.edu/financial-aid
  • Understand all program eligibility conditions, and in particular, conditions concerning enrollment status and your satisfactory academic progress.
  • Only accept financial aid from one institution for the same period of enrollment.
  • Drop classes according to Registration Office procedures
  • Inform the Financial Aid Office of receipt of any funding from sources other than M State.
  • Check your campus email and understand your student account on the website.