Financial Aid & Scholarship Information


Financial Aid

Completing the FAFSA is is the first step in the college financial aid process. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Be sure to use this website:  Do not use any website that ends in .com or one that asks you to pay to complete the application.

The FAFSA is used to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution. This is a required form for any student seeking federal aid.  Completing the FAFSA is the single most important thing you can do to get financial assistance paying for college.  

Federal student aid is awarded in the form of grants, low-interest loans, and work-study funds. Grants are typically awarded on the basis of need and generally do not have to be repaid. Many colleges require students receiving any kind of scholarship funds to complete a FAFSA.  Additionally, some families complete a FAFSA in order to get access to unsubsidized federal loan funds that are not income dependent.

The FAFSA can be submitted any time after October 1 for the school year starting the fall of the next year (October 1, 2017 for the 2018-19 school year).  The FAFSA is available October 1, rather than beginning on January 1, as it has been in years past.  The earlier availability date is a permanent change, enabling parents to complete and submit the FAFSA as early as October 1 each year.  Deadlines for completion vary by college, so it is important to check college websites carefully for FAFSA deadlines. Because the FAFSA can be completed as early as October 1, parents use income and tax information from an earlier tax year.  For the 2018-19 school year, FAFSA filers report income and tax figures from two years prior:  You will provide 2016 income and tax figures.

When completing the FAFSA, parents will identify colleges to receive your FAFSA report.  You may submit the FAFSA to a college even if your child hasn't yet submitted his/her application for admission to the school.  After filing the FAFSA, if you want your FAFSA information sent to more colleges than what you originally listed, go back to and add additional colleges as a correction.

Expect to receive financial aid information from colleges in the spring.

To determine your approximate financial aid package, use FAFSA4caster.  It is a free financial aid calculator that gives you and early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid.


Schulze Family Foundation Scholarship

The Schulze Family Foundation expanded its scholarship program in 2017 adding 10 scholarships--each in the amount of $20,000--for graduates of Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  These scholarships are not designated by school and will go to the best applicants.  Applicants must have finished their elementary education at a Catholic elementary school, attend an Archdiocesan Catholic high school, and meet all other requirements.  

This is a $20,000 scholarship ($5000 per year for four years) targeting students who meet this criteria: 

  • Attended Catholic grade school and attend Catholic high school
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Have a minimum ACT composite score of 22
  • Have completed the FAFSA and have unmet financial need
  • Are not receiving a federal Pell grant

Deadline to apply is March 1, 2018.  
More information about the application process will be available in January, 2018.

Application requirements:

  • 3 letters of recommendation (2 must be from high school teachers/staff) - Students should not simply re-use college letters of recommendation.  Students should ask teachers if they will revise these letters specifically for this scholarship.
  • a 2 page essay answering the question: "What is the best advice you have ever received and how has it impacted your life?"
  • an official high school transcript (sent by a School Counselor)
  • a copy of the student's ACT Score Report (sent by the student.  See your School Counselor if you need a copy of your score report.)
  • a resume of school, community and/or church participation, achievement and leadership
  • a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR) - This is a document that is emailed to students/parents after completing the FAFSA
  • a copy of the Financial Aid Award Notification - This is a letter students receive from a college telling how much aid the school is offering.  Submit to the Schulze Foundation the letter from your college of choice or the colleges you are considering.

Types of Scholarships

  • College-specific:  For most students, their best bet is scholarships offered through their college or university.  Students should find out if scholarships at the schools to which they are applying require a separate application or if their application for admission ALSO serves as the application for scholarships.  Students should check the admissions website of the colleges to which they have applied AND the site for the specific major they are interested in (many colleges offer major-specific scholarships).  Students may also contact the Admissions Office or Financial Aid Office of a college to ask about additional scholarships.

Federal Work-Study Program

Although more than 3,400 colleges and universities across the country take part in the Federal Work-Study Program, some schools award positions based on the date that students complete the FAFSA.  This is a strong reason to file your FAFSA as soon as possible each year.  Here is a helpful article on the Federal Work Study Program.

Tuition Reciprocity

Minnesota has agreements with neighboring states to provide lower tuition for Minnesota residents to attend public colleges and universities in those states.  This is called reciprocity.  Typically, non-resident admission fees and tuition are reduced (or eliminated) if you are a reciprocity student.

Minnesota has reciprocity agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.  It also has an agreement with the Canadian province of Manitoba, and a limited agreement with Iowa Lakes Community College in northwestern Iowa.

Midwest Student Exchange Program

The Midwest Student Exchange Program, or MSEP, is a multi-state tuition reciprocity program.  Through the MSEP, public institutions agree to charge students no more than 150% of the in-state resident tuition rate for specific programs; private institutions offer a 10% reduction on their tuition rates.  All enrollment decisions are made at the discretion of the receiving campus and the campus may exercise its right to limit participation or set specific admission requirements for MSEP.  To learn more about which states and which institutions participate in MSEP, go to

529 College Savings Plans

Learn more about Minnesota's 529 College Savings Plan and the Private College 529 Plan.

College Costs

To determine the approximate cost of a specific college or university, use the Net Price Calculator on the school's website.  Every college/university is required to have some kind of price calculator on its website.  Cost estimate precision depends on what and how much information is asked for.  Generally, Net Price Calculators provide trustworthy cost estimates for families.

Additional information on financial aid and scholarships

College Affordability - College Affordability and Transparency Center (US Dept of Education) 
College Greenlight - A scholarship resource site for first-generation college students
CSS/Financial Aid Profile - Financial aid information provided by the College Board
Education Tax Credits - Information on tax credits, deductions and savings that can help with college expenses 
Family Connection (Scholarships) - Log in to search scholarship opportunities
Federal Student Aid - Comprehensive guide to federal aid and loans
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
FinAid - Student guide to financial aid
Financial Aid Toolkit - US Dept of Education information on Federal Student Aid
Important financial considerations for college students.
Institute for College Access & Success - Works to make college available and affordable to people of all backgrounds  A helpful guide to completing the FAFSA
Project on Student Debt - Organization dedicated to making college more available and affordable to people of all backgrounds
Sallie Mae - Financial planning for college
Scholarship Search (Fastweb) - Search scholarships based on your strengths, interests and skills
Scholarship Search (GoodCall) - Search scholarship and financial aid information
Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid - Reports from the College Board on trends in pricing and aid
Uaspire - Financial planning tools


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