Considering applying to college this fall? Throughout October, students can apply for free to 26 colleges and seven universities in the Minnesota State system, plus get free college financial aid planning advice.
To make it easier and more affordable for students to attend college, this month the Minnesota Office of Higher Education is promoting a two-pronged statewide information campaign called “Minnesota Goes to College!”
College Knowledge Month: Visit campus, apply for free
The first prong is the annual College Knowledge Month. The stated goal of College Knowledge Month is to provide every graduating high school senior with the preparation, opportunity, and support they need to apply to college.
Schools across the state are encouraged to help students explore college opportunities and begin active planning. The College Knowledge Month website offers useful links students can use to help them make college lists, find college fairs, write essays, and more.
During October, students can also benefit from fee waivers. All 33 schools in the Minnesota State system are waiving their application fee for the entire month. Learn more here.
Many campuses are also hosting special events during the Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) break from Oct. 19-20, although campus visits can be arranged at any other time by contacting the schools.
Minnesota College Goal: Applying for financial aid
The second prong is called Minnesota College Goal. This is the state’s effort to help graduating high school seniors and their families understand how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Minnesota College Goal is hosting an information series called Ready, Set, FAFSA Virtual College Planning Events. These are free virtual events hosted by financial aid professionals to help students and families understand college financial aid options.
Sessions are about one hour long, and will feature short financial aid presentations as well as Q&A. Interpreters will be available in Spanish, Hmong and Somali. An additional bonus: students who attend any of the sessions will be entered into a $500 scholarship drawing.
For those who can’t attend, sessions will be recorded and available to view on the MN Goes to College website. Two sessions, Apply to College and Understand Financial Aid, have already occurred. Upcoming sessions are Create Your FSA ID on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. and Search for Scholarships on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.
Families are also encouraged to research and find additional scholarship opportunities, where possible. One opportunity to note is that starting in fall 2024, Minnesota State will offer the new North Star Promise Scholarship program, which offers free tuition and fees for eligible Minnesota residents.
Upcoming local in-person events
In addition to the virtual events above, families can make note of these upcoming local informational events:
- Eden Prairie families are invited to a Free Financial Aid Planning Night on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Eden Prairie High School Auditorium. Discussions are aimed to help students in grades 9 to 12, and will include the financial aid process, College Scholarship Service (CSS), and finding scholarships.
- Normandale Community College Open House: Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m. Attend an information session, visit academic and resource fair tables, explore a variety of academic departments and support services, and take a student-led campus tour. Ideal for students in grade 12.
- Hennepin Technical College open houses: Eden Prairie campus on Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park campuses on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. Explore programs, meet with an admissions representative, and learn about the resources available at Hennepin Tech. Learn more here.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.