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Are you interested in learning about dual credit courses and how to enroll your high school student?

How can you help your student through the college admissions process? Where can you find out about programs and financial aid basics?

There are many free resources to help families - from filling out college applications to how to pay for college. In addition to those listed below, make sure to visit the STUDENT GO page of this website for college search tools and directories to use with your student.

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Shaping Your Future: Why Minnesota Families Choose College

In these videos, Minnesota parents offer advice about getting involved in their student's education. Two of the videos below are available in Spanish or Hmong, with English subtitles. Access the entire Shaping Your Future video collection for additional parent stories.

Shaping Your Future videos were produced by Twin Cities Public Television and presented by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Graduation Cap

Getting Started . . .

Is this your first time? Make sure to visit College 101, Applying 101 and Financial Aid 101.

Money

Free Financial Aid Guides

These publications summarize key information about financing a college education. They are available for download or by request in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali.

Help Your Student Find the Right Fit

College Search Tools


The Minnesota College Guide is available for download or by request from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. It includes valuable information on more than 75 Minnesota colleges and universities.

Big Future has a step-by-step interactive college search tool to help families start the exploration process, with explanations and helpful tips along the way.

Use Minnesota College Planner on your mobile device to search for Minnesota colleges and universities by size of school, majors available, location in Minnesota, tuition rates and type of institution.

Campus Visits


Download this Campus Visit Checklist (pdf) before you go on any campus visits. This worksheet helps you to have all the information you and your student need to know to get the most out of your campus visits.

College Fairs


The National College Fair, held each fall in Minneapolis, is one of the largest fairs of its kind and annually attracts representatives from over 350 different colleges and universities. This event is free and open to the public.

Minnesota Education Fairs (MEFs) are college fairs held throughout the state at high schools and other sites. Anyone interested in postsecondary education and military opportunities is welcome to attend.

Assist with the Admissions Process

Application Fees & Fee Waivers


Many colleges and universities charge application fees. It is important to note that many schools in Minnesota do not charge an application fee year-round – while all Minnesota schools are accepting the NACAC fee waiver for qualifying students. Check with your school counselor for questions about eligibility.

October is College Knowledge Month in Minnesota. During this time, some schools waive application fees. Visit the College Knowledge Month student section for an updated list of schools that do not charge application fees during October.

Resources for Undocumented Students


Big Future devotes an entire section to Helping Undocumented Students with the College Admissions Process. Make sure to visit Para los Padres, their Spanish-language site written for parents, for information about going to college - from how to start planning to how to pay for it.

Find out information about eligibility for state financial aid under the Minnesota Dream Act. Learn about how to apply for these benefits. View a list of Scholarships for Minnesota Immigrant Students, provided by Navigate MN.

Apply for Financial Aid

Financial Aid Tips


The publication, Paying for College (pdf), has everything you need to learn about financial aid and scholarship options in Minnesota.

Paying for College: Minnesota Videos
 give families advice from parents and experts about paying for college. They were prepared by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Private College Fund. Some videos are also available in Somali, Spanish and Hmong.

Stay on track with financial aid tasks and deadlines during your student's senior year by using this Financial Aid Calendar.

There are a few things families can do even if they don't start planning until after their child is admitted. This Last Minute Financial Aid advice is also useful for families whose finances are falling short of college costs.

Learn how to avoid scams while searching for scholarships, filling out the FAFSA, and giving personal information to schools and lenders.

FAFSA


What is the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? How and when do families need to complete the form? And what information is needed? The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has compiled a great list of FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions (and answers).

Complete the FAFSA online to apply for state and federal financial aid. There is no cost to you or your student. Families will need to create a FAFSA pin.

If you're not ready to apply for federal student aid, but you would like to estimate your aid, try FAFSA4caster - a free financial aid calculator that gives you an early estimate of your eligibility. Or, use the simpler Financial Aid Estimator for Minnesota Students to find out how much aid your student might get at a Minnesota institution.

Get help with your taxes - which you will need to complete the FAFSA. Find a free tax clinic near you through Acccountability Minnesota (interpreters available). Clinics open mid-January through April 15 at several locations across the Twin Cities.

Want help from professional volunteers to complete the FAFSA? Attend a free Minnesota College Goal workshop. Workshops are held on various dates and times throughout the state between February 1 and May 1 each year. The Minnesota College Goal website has additional financial aid resources for families.

Scholarships


The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has compiled an extensive list of Free Scholarship Searches and Resources. In addition, make sure to check out their partial list of the Scholarships Offered by Minnesota Schools.

Applying to scholarships is a lot like applying to college. You start with a large number of possibilities and cut that down to a short list of manageable choices. Here are some great tips for staying organized during the process.

You should never have to pay to find and appy for scholarships OR federal aid. Be on the lookout for these eight scholarship scams.

 
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  • Minnesota Department of Education