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Financial Aid 101

Are you eligible for financial aid? Financial aid programs are most often based on financial need. Most students qualify for some type of financial aid.

Follow these steps to ensure you receive the financial aid for which you or your children are eligible.

File the FAFSA

Early filing of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is critical.

This national application is the first step in the financial aid process. Most schools use the FAFSA to determine students' financial aid. The FAFSA determines the amount of money a student and/or family is expected to contribute toward the price of attending a postsecondary institution.

Don't Wait to File

State Student Financial Aid Deadlines vary. Also, state or school funds may run out. Applying early is the best way to ensure you receive the most aid.

Take advantage of the FAFSA4caster - Español FAFSA4caster

This tool gives parents and students an idea of how much financial aid they may be eligible to receive. Some of the information you enter into this tool automatically transfers to your FAFSA on the Web application when you officially apply for federal student aid.

FAFSA4caster is not just a tool for high school juniors. Parents of younger students can receive early estimates, create scenarios based on future earnings, and then establish college savings strategies. Adult learners can get an idea of how much federal aid they may be eligible to receive.

Oficina de ayuda Federal para estudiantes. FAFSA

¿Por qué hay que llenar la FAFSA? Llenar la Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FAFSA, por sus siglas en inglés) es el primer paso en la gestión de ayuda económica estudiantil.

Develop a Plan

  • Check with the financial aid office at the school you want to attend to determine which types of aid are available to you. Some schools may also require additional forms.
  • Education tax credits, deductions, and exclusions from gross income are available for pursuing a college education.

Your Eligibility May Change Each Year

  • Income and assets are key to determining your expected family contribution (EFC). In Minnesota, there is no simple financial aid cutoff based on income, so your eligibility must be re-calculated each year.
  • The number of family members in college can significantly affect your eligibility for aid. The more family members enrolled in higher education, the higher your need for financial assistance.
  • When estimating your education budget, various factors may increase or decrease your eligibility for financial aid.
  • Calculate your college cost and financial aid eligibility.