Free tuition available for high school grads

By Stephanie New-Johnson
Posted March 15, 2016

Free tuition available for high school grads

The MnSCU Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program provides free tuition to qualifying students enrolled in specific career and technical programs at MnSCU two-year colleges for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years (up to 72 credits). The grant covers tuition and general fees remaining after Pell and the Minnesota State Grants have been applied to the student’s account.

Qualifications for students include:

  • Graduating from a Minnesota high school, completing an ABE program or passing a GED test as a Minnesota resident between July 1, 2015 and August 21, 2016.
  • Adjusted Gross Income of $90,000 or less in 2015.
  • Minnesota resident as defined by the Minnesota state financial aid programs.
  • Tuition and fee charges that are not fully covered by Pell and State grants during fall semester 2016.
  • To qualify for the second year of the program (2017-18), students must complete at least 30 program credits during the first year of the program with a GPA of 2.5 or better and participate in free mentoring services throughout the academic program (additional information below).

To apply, students must complete the 2016-2017 FAFSA or Minnesota Dream Act application form, be admitted to an eligible program and start that program in the fall of 2016.

Students need not complete a separate application for this grant.

Applications will be ranked by FAFSA or Minnesota Dream Act filing date, so students should apply as early as possible. Financial aid offices will begin notifying students who are eligible in the near future and will continue to notify qualified students as long as funds are available. The actual award amount will not be determined until the end of the drop/add period for fall term. A student who has been notified they will receive the award and maintains eligibility will have their tuition and fees paid by a combination of the Pell grant, the state grant and the occupational grant.

Students who submit all required forms and required documents, successfully complete at least 30 credits during the 2016-17 academic year, maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 at the end of the 2016-17 academic year, participate in the provided mentoring sessions and are certified by the college to be on track to complete the program during the 2017-18 academic year are eligible for a grant renewal. Students will need to reapply for the grant for the second year.

For more information, including a list of qualifying programs, visit the Office of Higher Education’s website at