If you live in the state of Minnesota, you can rest assured that there are a lot of government-funded and private sector-funded financial aid opportunities available to reduce your out-of-pocket tuition costs. By exploring these options, you’re being financially responsible by avoiding to spend more than you need in your pursuit of a higher education.

State Scholarships and Grants

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education, the entity in charge of making sure a college education is accessible and affordable to as many residents as possible, has designed an interactive website called Get Ready for College. This is done in the hope that every Minnesotan has the opportunity to earn a post secondary degree.

  • The Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship is Minnesota’s merit-based scholarship program for high school graduates that have been admitted to study full-time in a nonsectarian college or university. Students are selected based on their excellence in one of the following subjects: English or creative writing, fine arts, foreign language, math, science, or social science. To be eligible, you must enroll the same year you graduated high school. The award covers your entire tuition if you are attending a public institution. If you are attending a private college or university, your award will be equal to the amount as if you were attending a comparable public institution. To apply, contact your college’s financial aid and scholarships department for more information.
  • The Minnesota State Grant is for students who come from low-income and moderate-income families. The typical award ranges from $1,500 to $1,800 and the minimum per year is $100. The majority of funding is allocated to families that are earning under 50k per year but even about 20% of those who receive funds are from families with over 50k in income. To apply, all you need to do is complete your FAFSA on time. More.
  • Military Service Education Benefits are offered by the state to help U.S. military personnel pay for a post secondary degree. Benefits depend on the type and length of service. Whether you are an active servicemember or a retired veteran, there may be funding available for you to attend college. Find out more.
  • Alliss Opportunity Grant Program for Adults Returning to College. To be eligible you must have graduated from high school at least seven years ago and must not have ever completed a bachelor’s degree. If you are an adult that would like to return to school, you can take one course, including the cost of books, for free at one of Minnesota’s community colleges. Contact the community college of your choice regarding this grant before registering. Get more information.
  • Grants for Dislocated Workers is a program designed to help workers obtain employment quickly by updating their skills and retraining those whose skills are no longer marketable. Read more.
  • Minnesota Public Safety Officer Survivor Grant provides educational aid to the children and spouse of public safety officers killed in the line of duty. The amount awarded is $10,488 for students in a four-year degree program and $5,808 for students in a two-year program. Click here.
  • Minnesota Child Care Grant is designed to help low income students who have small children under the age of 12 or 14 if the child has special needs. This grant helps pay for childcare while you attend college. The maximum amount awarded is $2,800 per child per academic year. Get details.

College-Based Scholarships and Grants

Most colleges and universities will have at least some form of programs that help students pay for their tuition. Whether they are need-based, merit-based, or a hybrid of the two, you need to check with your school’s financial aid office for more details. Here are some of the more prominent schools in the state and a bit of information on the different programs they have.

  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  Every year millions of dollars go towards helping students pay for their tuition. The University offers many renewable scholarship opportunities that award amounts that range from $500 to $12,000 per year.  These scholarships can be merit-based or need-based and some have their own individual eligibility requirements. See the full list.
  • Walden University is committed to providing access to higher education. That’s why the University offers merit-based financial aid to assist students in making an impact on the communities where they live and serve. See the list of available scholarships.
  • Capella University is interested in helping you achieve your goals. A variety of grants and scholarships are available to students who are committed to earning a degree. The awarded amounts vary depending on your qualifications and field of interest. Find out  more.
  • Saint Cloud State University rewards students who show consistent academic superiority. When you apply for admission, you automatically apply for merit scholarships. These financial aid opportunities range from $750 to $5,000 per year and are renewable for up to four years. View list.
  • Minnesota State University – Mankato can count on many individuals who are willing to donate to its scholarship fund. The purpose of the scholarship is to help as many students as possible pay for their college degree. For a list of scholarships available at Minnesota State University, click here.

Other Private Scholarship Opportunities

Other than government-based programs and money your college may provide you, another huge opportunity for Minnesotan students is to explore the private sector for scholarships. Here are some examples of popular private scholarships in Minnesota that may be a good fit for you, and if not, they may at least give you an idea what’s out there and motivate you to search for others that may be a perfect fit for you.

  • Minnesota Women’s Golf Association Foundation Scholarship is a renewable award for female high school seniors in Minnesota. To be eligible you must show interest or involvement in golf and must plan to enroll full-time in an accredited college or university the year you submit the application. A minimum 3.0 GPA is also required. Amount awarded is $3,000 and deadline is March 31.  Download the application.
  • Fairview Northland Scholarship is for high school seniors from these Minnesota high schools: Zimmerman, Princeton, Elk River, and Milaca. To be eligible, you must be pursuing a career related to health care. Hospitals work directly with high school counselors for this program. Amount awarded is $500. Find out more.
  • MnUSA Scholarship is for graduating seniors who are planning to pursue higher education in an accredited two- or four-year institution or accredited vocational school. To qualify you must have been a member in good standing of MnUSA for the past three years. Amount awarded is $3,000 and the deadline is March 31. Get the application.
  • Minnesota Association of Township Scholarships is for 11th graders attending a Minnesota public, private, or parochial high school or a home study program. To be eligible you must plan to further your education at a college, university, or vocational school.  Application includes submission of a written essay between 450 and 500 words discussing the year’s topic. Amount disbursed is $1,000 and deadline is May 1. Click here for more.
  • David Torrey Memorial Scholarship is for males who are seniors at St. Cloud Technical High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota. To be eligible you must have shown good citizenship and leadership skills through school and community activities. You must also be interested in furthering your education beyond high school but have not done well enough to qualify for academic achievement scholarships. Deadline is April 15 and amounts awarded vary. More.

Investing in your future is a big deal. The good news is that you don’t have to figure out how to pay for your degree alone. If you live in Minnesota, be sure to do your research and apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for. Your future depends on it.