3 - Getting started

Starting the process

  • Take a look at your financial aid options, including the types of financial aid you can get, how to qualify for financial aid and how to apply. Remember, loans need to be repaid, but grants and scholarships do not.
  • Respond to all requests for information from the college at SpartanNet>E-Services>Financial Aid>Aid Application Status. You may not receive any requests and you might receive a number of them. It's important that you read each one carefully and respond accordingly to keep the process moving!
  • Review your award letter in your E-Services account at SpartanNet>E-Services>Financial Aid>Award Letter. Apply for Federal Direct Student Loans at SpartanNet>E-Services>Financial Aid>Loans.
  • Complete the requirements for obtaining loan funding, including the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Loan Counseling.

Already did this for another college? Add M State to your completed FAFSA

If you complete your financial aid file at another school and later decide to attend M State during that same year, you must also complete your financial aid file at M State. Financial aid does not transfer from one institution to another. To get your financial aid process started at M State, you must add the 005541 school code to your processed FAFSA. To process the change electronically:

  • Log in with your FSA ID or request forgotten user id or password
  • Select Make Correction
  • Add M State school code 005541

If you attend a college after July 1 and then transfer to M State, you will need to complete a Verification of Enrollment form and may be required to obtain a transcript from the college you are transferring from. You will also be required to cancel any further financial aid that was awarded by that college. You will receive an email with directions to access necessary forms within two weeks from adding M State to your FAFSA.

Need help with your FAFSA?

Please contact one of our financial aid staff for assistance.

Support Center, Fergus Falls

Detroit Lakes

Jackie Jandt, Moorhead

Brian Maki, Moorhead


*Please note the following:

2021-2022 applications require 2019 tax information.

2022-2023 applications require 2020 tax information.

Applying for loans

Once you've received your award letter, you may begin the loan application process. Please remember to borrow only what you need, even if you're eligible to borrow more. You're going to have to pay this back after you leave school.

Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized: To begin the loan application process, review your award letter at SpartanNet>E Services>Financial Aid>Loans. You will need to specify the amount you wish to borrow and will be required to complete the following prerequirements:

  • Complete entrance counseling. Once you have completed loan entrance counseling, the school will be notified electronically that you have successfully completed it.
  • Electronically sign your Master Promissory Note. When electronically signing the Master Promissory Note, please turn off pop-up blockers to enable successful completion.

Please have the following things ready when you complete your Master Promissory Note.

  • Your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)
  • Your driver's license number
  • Names and addresses of two personal references from two different households

If you have problems electronically signing your Master Promissory Note for Direct Loans, assistance can be obtained at Direct Loan Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394.

Federal Direct Loan limits

1st year $5,500
2nd year $6,500

  • To be considered for a second-year loan limit, you will need to be in a two-year program and complete 30 or more credits applicable to that program
  • As an independent student, you may be eligible to borrow up to an additional $4,000 in an unsubsidized loan

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): Your parent will complete a paper application and sign the electronic Master Promissory Note for PLUS Loan. Your parent will need an FSA ID, driver's license number and names and addresses of two personal references from two different households. Once the credit check has been approved and M State has documentation that the parent has signed the Master Promissory Note, the loan will be disbursed following the schedule set by the college. If a Parent Loan application is not approved, additional unsubsidized loan funds could be available.

Alternative and private loans: These are loans to help pay for your education and are intended to be used only after all eligibility for Federal Direct and PLUS loans has been exhausted. Minnesota State Community and Technical College does not endorse any one particular lender. We do provide the service of FASTChoice to assist with education and comparison of lender loan options such as interest rates, fees, repayment terms and application instructions. You will be provided with a historical list of lenders from which Minnesota State Community and Technical College students have borrowed in the past three years.

If you determine you need to apply for an Alternative Loan, please go to: FASTChoice.

Responsible borrowing

Additional resources


· Direct loan provides information about your direct student loan and online access to your loan account.