At Minnesota private colleges, 95 percent of first-year students will receive grants and scholarships — this is money student do not pay back.
From colleges and universities
Institutions award grants and scholarships based on merit or on need:
- Merit-based scholarships recognize student achievement and potential, largely tied to academics.
- Need-based grants address a student’s ability to pay.
When applying for admission, students should ask about scholarships and grants available from the institution. Additional requirements may apply. To be eligible for need-based grants students generally need to file the FASFA. (For students who are undocumented or coming from overseas, they can be eligible for institutional grants and scholarships as well.)
Minnesota private colleges award more than $684 million in grants and scholarships annually.
From government sources
Significant need-based grants are provided through the federal and state government as well. There are several important federal and state grant programs that help keep college affordable. Use the FAFSA4caster to obtain an estimate of eligibility for federal student aid. Estimate of the state and federal grants you may be eligible to receive.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program for students from low- and middle-income families. The amount that a student can receive depends upon their college’s cost of attendance; family size and the family's financial situation, which they report on the FAFSA. The maximum grant at Minnesota private colleges in 2020-21 was approximately $6,345. The size of the program and amount of aid available are determined by congressional appropriation levels. Learn more about this program.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is awarded and administered by each college. Funding is provided directly to the schools in the form of a block grant. The award amount is set by the institution’s financial aid office; thus the aid and application deadlines vary. A student may receive up to $4,000 in SEOG per year depending on need, the availability of funds at the specific school, and the amount of other aid received. Learn more about this program.
Minnesota State Grant
Minnesota State Grant awards are funded by state government appropriations. The program is designed to complement the Pell Grant, and information submitted on FAFSA is used to determine both awards. In 2019-20, nearly 80,000 Minnesota students received a State Grant — that's two in five undergraduates. And the average grant for students at Minnesota private colleges was $5,125. Learn more about this program.
Minnesota Dream Act
The Minnesota Dream Act provides higher education-related benefits to undocumented students who meet certain criteria, including having attended a Minnesota high school for at least three years. The benefits include eligibility for the Minnesota State Grant. This can be an important resource for students. Learn more about this program and how to apply.
Child Care Grant
The Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program helps low-income students who have young children pay for child care while the student attends classes. The maximum available to a full time student is $5,500 for each eligible child per academic year. Learn more about this program.
From private sources
Many different types of independent scholarships are available. They are awarded according to some criteria, including academics, athletic achievement, cultural background, religious ties and service. The following websites list resources to help you explore private scholarship opportunities:
- Minnesota Office of Higher Education (This page has valuable tips on evaluating scholarships.)
- FinAid: the Smart student Guide to Financial Aid
Avoid scholarship offers that charge fees, ask for credit cards or checking account information or that guarantee scholarships. Learn how to recognize a predatory financial aid search company.