2024 Legislative request: Promise Equalization Scholarship

Low- and middle-income students at  private nonprofit colleges have the same financial needs as students at Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota who are helped by the North Star Promise, which was created last year. But low- and middle-income students at nonprofit colleges were not included in the new program.

In the 2024 session, legislators can help low- and middle-income students at nonprofit colleges by investing in a new component to the Minnesota State Grant program — the Promise Equalization Scholarship. This new scholarship would provide financial aid parity by helping those left out of North Star Promise. It would make an investment in students at nonprofit colleges that is similar to the investment made in students at the University of Minnesota through the North Star Promise Scholarship program.

Promise Equalization Scholarship

$13.9 million in students at nonprofit collegesEstimated average scholarship of $1,045 for 13,300 low- and middle-income college students currently receiving State GrantsAdd a new scholarship component to the State Grant programHelp low- and middle-income students at nonprofit colleges who were left out of last year’s historic investments.

With the new Promise Equalization Scholarship, the State of Minnesota would partner with nonprofit colleges to make college more affordable and reduce student debt for those students at nonprofit colleges with the most need — just as the North Star Promise Scholarship has done for low- and middle-income students at public and tribal colleges.

Why students at nonprofit colleges matter to Minnesota

About one-third of recent high school graduates who attend a four-year college in Minnesota choose to enroll in a nonprofit college.Nonprofit colleges provide access and success to students of diverse backgrounds:

  • 36 percent of Pell Grant recipients pursuing bachelor’s degrees are enrolled at nonprofit colleges.
  • 34 percent of students of color and Native American students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in the state attend nonprofit colleges.
  • In fact, the share of Pell Grant recipients and students of color at nonprofit colleges is the same or higher than at Minnesota’s public four-year colleges.
  • And nonprofit colleges have the highest on-time graduation rates in the state for Pell Grant recipients.

The state can’t fully meet its future workforce needs without graduates from nonprofit colleges.

State Grant 101

The State Grant program is the only way the state of Minnesota targets funds to college students based on their financial need. Recipients:

  • Earn bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificates
  • Attend part-time and full-time
  • Attend private and public institutions

Policy background briefs

The 9,900 students earning a bachelor’s degree each year at our 18 private nonprofit institutions are well position to pay back debt.