MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s that time of year when many high school seniors are getting their acceptance letters from colleges. And, just as importantly, details on the financial aid they’ve qualified for, or scholarships they’ve won.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is the state agency that administers up to $150 million in grants to students planning to go to college in Minnesota, and offers advice to families who are researching financial aid and college savings plans.
Financial Aid Programs Manager Ginny Dodds said the most commonly-asked question their office gets has to do with the FAFSA — that dreaded financial aid application form that’s said to be complicated to complete.
But there is some good news about it.
“They’ve really made it a lot easier to complete. It’s online. It takes the average family maybe 20 minutes to fill it out, and so it’s not terrible. And there is so much help available for that,” she said.
Dodds said there are workshops that you can go to that are held at high schools and other locations, that help you fill out the financial aid forms.
She added many students are often surprised by how much assistance they are able to get. And that too many middle-income families often don’t even bother to apply for financial aid, but that’s a mistake.
“I think a lot of people don’t fill it out because they assume they won’t qualify, but you really need to fill out the FAFSA to find out for sure, because you don’t know all the financial aid formulas,” she said.
Dodds said that even if you don’t qualify for a grant or scholarship, you may be eligible for a federal student loan, so it’s worth the time to fill out the financial aid forms.
For more information, visit the MN Office of Higher Education website.