Free tuition? New grant makes it possible

1Stop2EnrollFall square.inddAn innovative pilot program will provide new Minnesota State Community and Technical College students with another option for a tuition-free or low-cost college education.

The Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program approved by the 2015 Minnesota Legislature offers financial assistance to recent high school graduates who enroll in qualifying career and technical programs at two-year colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, the pilot program will help students complete a technical program within two years or less and find employment in a high-demand occupation with the aid of a mentor.

First-year grant recipients must be Minnesota residents, meet income guidelines and be 2015-16 high school graduates or have recently completed Adult Basic Education, a GED or an AmeriCorps program.
Students in more than 70 certificate, diploma and degree programs at M State will qualify for the pilot program.

The grant is a “last-dollar out” program, which means it will cover all remaining tuition and fees after federal Pell and Minnesota State grants have been applied to a student’s account. Funds for the program are limited, so students are encouraged to begin the application process early by completing the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program joins two others that support M State students through tuition assistance. M State’s up2U program offers a scholarship award to students who plan to earn an M State degree and transfer to a partner university. Also, beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, M State’s Power of You will provide two years of tuition-free college education to up to 100 area high school graduates.

“M State is committed to establishing unique pathways which not only make tuition even more affordable but also provide additional support leading to student success,” said M State President Peggy Kennedy.

For more information on qualifications and programs eligible for the Occupational Grant Pilot Program or M State’s other tuition assistance programs, contact M State at 877.450.3322 or visit

Posted in News on February 3, 2016 at 10:49 am