How to Pay for the University of Minnesota: Aid and Student Loan Options

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How to Pay for the University of Minnesota
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Before you head to the University of Minnesota, you’ll need to figure out how to cover the costs. For the 2020-21 academic year, the annual University of Minnesota cost of tuition and fees for the flagship Twin Cities campus is $15,142 for Minnesota residents and $33,440 for non-residents.

Fortunately, those are just the “sticker prices.” You can likely reduce costs with financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and work-study — and if you still have a gap in funding, you might consider borrowing federal or private student loans.

Let’s take a closer look at how to cover your University of Minnesota cost of attendance without taking on too much debt by turning to the following…

Plus: Some final tips on paying for the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota Costs for 2020-21 Year (Twin Cities campus)

In-state students (residing on campus)Out-of-state students (residing on campus)
Tuition and fees$15,142$33,440
Room and board$10,358$10,358
Books and supplies$1,000$1,000
Transportation$228$1,728
Personal and miscellaneous$2,000$2,000
Loan fees$214$214
Total for spring and fall semester$28,942$48,740
All data current as of July 15, 2020, Source: University of Minnesota

Covering your University of Minnesota costs with the FAFSA

Your first stop as you look for funding to cover University of Minnesota costs is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

On the FAFSA, you’ll answer questions about your family’s financial situation, and that information will be used to determine the federal aid you qualify for. In some cases, your answers on the FAFSA are also used by states and individual schools to determine additional need-based financial aid.

You can’t access federal programs such as grants, student loans and work-study without filling out the FAFSA. In Minnesota, state student aid programs are available after you’ve completed a FAFSA.

Grants for University of Minnesota students

A grant is money that generally doesn’t have to be paid back. To receive federal or state government grants for the University of Minnesota, you’ll need to fill out your FAFSA. You may then be eligible for aid based on your financial need.

Our guide to state grants can be a great place to start your search for aid. Here are some of the grants you might be eligible for, based on the information in your FAFSA:

  • Federal Pell Grants: As an undergrad, you may be eligible for a Pell Grant, which awards up to $6,345 based on your family’s financial need.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: Depending on your need, you might be able to get up to $4,000 a year to help you pay for the University of Minnesota.
  • Minnesota State Grant: Awards vary based on your family’s expected contribution and the cost of attending school. The average award was about $2,603 for the 2018-19 school year, but if you have greater need, you may be able to receive more.
  • Minnesota Teacher Candidate Grant: If you plan to teach after finishing school, you might be eligible for this grant, which offers up to $7,500 for one term.
  • Child care grants: If you have children and need to find care for them while you attend school, you might qualify for financial assistance via a child care grant.

On top of these grants, Minnesota also offers grants for students in special circumstances, such as being dislocated for work or having certain developmental disabilities. You can check with Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education for more information.

For additional opportunities, try searching for local grants and scholarships in your area.

Scholarships for University of Minnesota students

When you receive a scholarship, you’re not expected to repay the money. There are some scholarships based on need, but you’re likely to find that many require you to meet certain requirements beyond your financial situation. Depending on the scholarship, you might need to demonstrate academic excellence or show some other accomplishment or trait.

Here are some of the scholarships available to help you pay for attending the University of Minnesota:

  • U Promise Scholarship: If you’re a new Minnesota resident with a family income of less than $120,000 per year enrolled as an undergraduate at one of the university’s five campuses, you’re guaranteed a U Promise scholarship of $300 to $4,000 per year (or $300 to $2,000 for transfer students) for four years.
  • Gold Scholar Award: You could get up to $10,000 a year with this scholarship — especially if you’re a National Merit Finalist, who are specifically sought out for this award.
  • University Honors Program Scholarship: If you qualify for the Honors program, you might be eligible for up to $2,000 a year.
  • Maroon and Gold Leadership Award: Get up to $12,000 each year when you show outstanding academic performance and leadership.
  • Presidential Scholarship: Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 each year and are made based on your scholarship application and academic performance.
  • Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship: This scholarship awards $6,500 per year to eligible students who are interested in English/creative writing, fine arts, foreign language, math, science or social studies.

Many scholarships, including many of those featured above, allow you to receive awards for four years. Check out the University of Minnesota academic scholarships list for more information.

In addition, the University of Minnesota has a number of scholarships based on traits, such as gender, cultural heritage and entrepreneurship. You can also apply for scholarships through your major department.

If you’re from a military family or involved in ROTC, you might qualify for military-related scholarships. You can also look for scholarship programs by visiting websites such as Fastweb or Scholly to secure money to help you pay for college.

Federal work-study

You can work part time to help cover your University of Minnesota costs. Often, you’ll be given priority for on-campus work. To qualify, you must state that you’re interested in work-study when filling out your FAFSA. The state of Minnesota also offers its own state work-study program.

Look for work-study jobs by visiting the school’s Office of Human Resources.

Federal student loans

If you’ve applied for scholarships and grants and still need more money to pay for schooling, it’s possible to get a federal student loan to help you close that funding gap. As an undergraduate, you can borrow between $5,500 and $7,500 per year as a dependent student, or between $9,500 and $12,500 per year as an independent student.

If you meet certain need-based requirements, you may qualify for a subsidized student loan, in which the government covers your interest payments while you’re in school.

If your family’s financial situation doesn’t allow you to get a subsidized loan, you can still get an unsubsidized federal student loan. With an unsubsidized loan, your interest accrues while you’re in school, as well as during your grace period and periods of deferment or forbearance.

In some cases, you might not be able to cover all your education costs with federal student loans. If your parents are willing to take out a loan to help you pay for school, they may be able to get a parent PLUS loan.

Types of undergraduate federal student loans
Interest covered during deferment?Interest rateOrigination feeCredit check?
Direct Subsidized LoanYes2.75%1.059%No
Direct Unsubsidized LoanNo2.75%1.059%No
Parent PLUS LoanNo5.3%4.236%Yes
All information current as of July 15, 2020. Source: Federal Student Aid

Federal student loans come with perks, including access to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, which can help you better manage monthly payments if you can’t find a good-paying job after graduation.

You also don’t have to worry about your credit situation when you get a federal student loan, as everyone qualifies for the same fixed rate each year. You may also qualify to have your federal loans forgiven.

Parent PLUS loans aren’t quite as easy to get, and they cost more than student loans. However, their credit requirements are fairly simple to meet: To qualify, you can’t have an adverse credit history.

University of Minnesota student loans

In some cases, you might also be able to access more loans by going directly to the University of Minnesota. Some of the loans you might be able to access as a student include:

  • University Trust Fund Loan: You can borrow up to $4,000 each academic year if you take one of these loans. Interest rates vary, and you might pay up to 7.00%. Depending on your situation, your interest may or may not accrue while you’re in school. Carefully read the terms of your loan so that you understand what you’re getting.
  • Self Loan: The state of Minnesota also participates in the Self Loan program and administers it for University of Minnesota students. Interest rates vary.
  • Nursing Student Loan: If you’re a nursing student, you may be eligible for loans of up to $3,300 or $5,200 each year, depending on your year in school (with a maximum total of $17,000). The interest rate on these loans is 5.00%.

In general, it’s best to start with federal student loans. Afterward, see if you can secure loans through the university if you still need funding help. But before you commit to a loan through the university, double-check to see if you can get a better rate through a private lender.

Private student loans

Your unique situation might make it difficult to cover all your college costs using other types of funding. As a result, you might need to turn to private student loans to help you pay for the University of Minnesota.

Private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions and online lenders. It’s important to consider your options before moving forward with private student loans.

When you borrow privately, you don’t have access to some of the programs available with federal student loans, such as IDR and federal loan forgiveness, though some state forgiveness programs might let you include private loans.

If you have good credit, though, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to find a lower interest rate with a private student loan. If you don’t qualify for the loan or rate you want, you might be able to get the funding you need by adding a cosigner.

Parents can also take advantage of private student loans. Many lenders offer parents the option to borrow money to pay for their child’s schooling.

Shop around and compare private student loans. There aren’t standards for interest rates and term lengths, so you’ll need to weigh your options carefully. The best private student loans do offer hardship programs and other incentives, but it’s still often a better idea to max out your federal student aid before you turn to private loans.

Some final tips on paying for the University of Minnesota

As you figure out how to pay for the University of Minnesota, make sure you review all your options. If you start planning earlier, you might be able to reduce your need for financial aid by saving money in a 529 or another type of account.

If you don’t have the savings to cover your costs of college, there are plenty of other resources to consider. Apply for scholarships and grants, and don’t forget to fill out the FAFSA. You can also look into your student loan options, including federal and private loans — just be sure you max out your federal aid before going after private student loans.

Because of the rising cost of college, there’s a good chance you’ll have to combine more than one strategy to help you pay for the University of Minnesota. But with careful planning and persistence, you may be able to reduce your reliance on debt to get an education.

Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.

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