Financial Assistance Sources

When planning how to pay for college, you should consider the financial resources listed below. For most of these resources and any others you may find, the first step to qualifying is to complete and submit the online Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA). Tools are available to help you estimate your financial aid award.


A grant is not paid back. Students who complete and submit a FAFSA are evaluated for the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and the State Pell Grant eligibility. Students eligible to accept federal or state grant funds must maintain enrollment and show satisfactory academic progress.

Alliss Educational Foundation Grants

The Alliss Educational Foundation Grants are two-year college opportunity grants available to students with financial need attending Minnesota State colleges and enrolled in programs designed to transfer to baccalaureate programs.

Childcare Grants

Eligible students may access special childcare grants available through state, county, or community agencies. To explore eligibility, Minnesota residents receiving TANF or MFIP benefits should contact their case manager. Individuals from outside of Minnesota may wish to check with state, county, or community social service agencies.


Loans must be repaid. A variety of loan programs are available for qualified students from public and private sources, including the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the Federal Direct Plus Loan (PLUS), the Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF), and other privately funded loans. A completed FAFSA must be submitted to be evaluated for federal and state loan eligibility.

The loan limit, interest rate, and repayment plans vary based on the loan type. To choose what loan programs are best for you, review materials carefully, visit with a financial advisor, or seek input from your Home College Financial Aid Office. Before accepting a loan from any source, a student should determine an estimated cost of attendance, and also complete and submit the FAFSA to determine qualification for other forms of funding.

Be sure to understand the difference between subsidized vs. unsubsidized and private vs. federal student loans.


In general, a scholarship award is not paid back. It is possible that accepting a scholarship may obligate a student to structure her or his education in a certain way (e.g. maintain a specific major), to complete outside of class duties (e.g., volunteering), or to accept certain employment (e.g., rural hospital). Depending on the scholarship, an applicant may need to submit work samples, make a presentation or meet with the scholarship awards committee. Students who accept an award but do not maintain the terms of the scholarship may be required to repay the scholarship fund. Learn more about scholarship searches.

Additional Sources to Consider

Military or Veterans Education Benefits

Currently serving service members, veterans, and family members may have earned education benefits. If you have a Minnesota affiliation (e.g., MnARNG member or Minnesota resident in another branch of service), contact My Military Education to explore what benefits may pertain to you and how to apply.


When accepted into a work-study program, students work part-time and are paid a wage. Students who complete and submit a FAFSA are evaluated for eligibility. Work-study eligible students may learn more about how to apply for work-study jobs and what jobs are available by visiting their Home College Financial Aid Office website.

Employer-Sponsored Training Programs

Check with your human resource office to explore tuition sponsorship programs available through your current employer. Inquire with human resource staff about eligibility requirements, the application process, academic performance or other standards that must be met and maintained, and repayment or other obligations you might incur.

Dislocated Worker Funding and Other Federal or State Re-Training Programs

Unemployed or underemployed individuals may be eligible for special federal or state programs. Visit your local Minnesota CareerForce location or employment agency to learn about programs available and how eligibility is determined.