Here’s How to Get Free College Tuition in Minnesota

free college tuition

As students across the nation ponder the value of a college degree in today’s economy, the state of Minnesota is offering its residents a tempting proposition—free tuition.

Minnesota recently revamped its North Star Scholarship program, offering a no-cost pathway for families making less than $80,000 per year. Beginning in the fall of 2024, students who meet certain eligibility requirements can attend any Minnesota State or University of Minnesota campus 100% tuition free. The four tribal colleges in the state are also included in the new plan.

Here are the basic requirements to qualify:

  • Be a full-time resident of the state of Minnesota
  • Have a family adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $80,000
  • Meet satisfactory academic progress
  • Be enrolled in a diploma, certificate or degree program at a qualifying school
  • Take at least one credit hour of coursework

Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree or have defaulted on their student loans are not eligible for the program.

The new initiative is being called a “last dollar program”, meaning schools will apply all applicable scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid before tapping into North Star funds. No application is required, and individual schools will determine student eligibility upon enrollment. Between 15,000 and 20,000 students are expected to benefit from the program during its first year.

North Star’s expansion appears to be having a “trickle-over” effect, too. Neighboring states North and South Dakota are also taking measures to make college more affordable for their residents.

With college enrollment numbers decreasing nationwide, Minnesota’s new initiative could be seen as a Hail Mary to revive higher education in the state. Either way, high school grads and nontraditional students looking to return to school stand to benefit.

You can find out more about the revised North Star Scholarship program at the state’s Office of Higher Education website.

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