4 - Receiving your awards

Understanding the financial aid award letter

M State's official notification process for financial aid awards is found on E-Services. There are two types of award letters: preliminary and official. The heading of each letter states whether it is preliminary or official. The preliminary letter provides an estimate of awards. If you have completed the admissions process and all required financial aid documentation, the official award letter will inform you of your anticipated award for the award year.

If you provided an email address on your college application, you will receive an email notifying them when an award letter is available. The award letter will be mailed to you if you have not provided an email address. If you wish to receive a paper award letter, please contact your campus financial aid office to receive a copy.

How to read the award letter

The award letter consists of two pages. The first page provides information about your estimated grants and loans and loan application information. If you're interested in student employment, please contact your financial aid office.

Page 1 - Award Information

The first page indicates your campus address and the award year, and it specifies whether the award is preliminary, official or revised. The preliminary award is an estimate, while both the official and official revised awards are actual awards (as long as corrections are not made after the printing of the letter). A revised letter is generated when information about additional awards is provided to the financial aid office and it impacts your eligibility for the amounts offered on the official award letter. (The revised award letter usually affects loan amounts when you receive scholarships or funding from another source or chooses to do work study instead of taking out a loan).

The chart on Page 1 indicates grant, loan and work study amounts at different enrollment levels. The words Fall and Spring are followed by the year and the number of credits This refers to the term and year you are enrolled and the number of credits that you will be enrolled for. The headings 12-30 (full-time), 9-11 (three-quarter time), 6-8 (half-time) and 1-5 (less than half time) refer to credits that you take for that term. Below these numbers are the dollar amounts that correspond with award types at the left. The fewer the credits, the lower the amount of financial aid offered. Loans are not available to you if you are enrolled for less than six credits. Because you enroll one term at a time, award information is provided by term.

There is a chart for each term that we anticipate you will be enrolled. If you have a one-term award, the college is anticipating that you will attend only one term that academic year. If you plan to attend more than one term, you will want to contact your campus financial aid office. Loan and work study amounts require additional action to receive/earn these funds.

State grant chart

Minnesota residents who are attending a Minnesota college and have attended less than four years of full-time college may be eligible for the State Grant. The State Grant chart indicates how much you will receive per term for enrollment of 1 to 15 or more credits. The grant does not increase if you take more than 15 credits. If you fill out a FAFSA after the first 30 days of the term, you will not eligible for a State Grant for that term but will be eligible for the remaining terms of the academic year.

You should look at the College Handbook and Catalog for additional information relating to a student's academic responsibilities to maintain eligibility for financial aid.

Important financial aid dates

Page 2 - additional information

The second page of the Award Letter explains the loan application process, provides links to loan counseling and the master promissory note website, and includes other important information. You are required to complete loan counseling and a master promissory note prior to receiving your first loan at M State. The actual request for the loan is in the Spartan Net account under E Services and Financial Aid. If you are a first-time borrower, you will have to wait 30 days into the semester prior to receiving a student loan. If you're borrowing for one semester only, you will have half of your loan funds applied to your bill either by the tenth day of the semester, or on the 30th day if you are a first-time borrower. The second half will arrive at midterm.

Summer award letter

The summer semester is not included on the basic award letter. To be considered for financial aid for summer, you need to have your financial aid file completed and be registered for summer courses. If you have attended two full-time terms in the year at any college, you will have used your grant aid before summer. The award year begins in the fall semester and ends after summer semester. If you have not borrowed your maximum loan for the year, you may be eligible for loans if you're enrolled for at least half-time (6 credits). Enrollment is determined by the total number of credits for the entire summer term. The award letter that you receive is the same as the academic year award letter, and the process is the same. Financial aid disbursement dates may vary by program at our campuses during the summer.

Loan exit counseling

Federal regulations require student borrowers to complete loan exit counseling upon fulfilling graduation requirements or if they withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment. M State will receive electronic notification when you have completed the loan exit counseling session. To complete exit counseling, visit Federal Student Aid - Complete Loan Exit Counseling.


Direct Loan Consolidation provides information about who should consolidate their direct student loans.

Visit Defaulted Student Loans if you need information about resolving your default status. (Defaulted student loans must be resolved and documentation provided to the college before students will be eligible to receive financial aid.)

Visit Tuition Reciprocity for details about North Dakota reciprocity.

Agency phone numbers

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)- 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
  • Minnesota Higher Education Services Office - 1-800-657-3866
  • Direct Loan Applicant Services - 1-800-557-7394
  • Internal Revenue Service - 1-800-829-1040
  • Selective Service - 1-847-688-6888
  • Social Security Administration - 1-800-772-1213