University of Minnesota
A land-grant university considered the flagship of the state, the University of Minnesota is home to over 30,000 high-achieving undergraduate students at its Twin Cities campus. The University of Minnesota has four additional campuses throughout the state as well as thriving graduate and professional studies programs as well. With students from 142 countries and over 2,500 students studying abroad, which is the third most out of all United States universities, the University of Minnesota is a prominent research university with many high-profile alumni.
Many students attend the University of Minnesota, the U of M, straight out of high school, and 90 percent of first-year students at the Twin Cities campus live on site where they make lasting friendships and are highly involved in the student activities and organizations U of M has to offer. Located on the picturesque banks of the Mississippi River and surrounded by the vibrant urban sprawl of the Twin Cities, U of M celebrates diversity, academics, and the arts as well as provides numerous recreational opportunities and over 800 student groups.
Calculating Cost of Attendance
Once you have decided on a path for higher education, the next step is determining how to budget and pay for college. In order to calculate your total cost of attendance (COA) at a college like U of M, you will need to consider several factors, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and money for recreational activities and other incidentals. The University of Minnesota estimates these costs for the 2014-2015 school year, including two semesters (fall and spring), to be:
- Tuition and fees for in-state residents: $13,626
- Tuition and fees for out-of-state students: $20,876
- Room and board: $8,554
- Books and supplies: $1,000
- Transportation: $194
- Incidentals: $2,000
Residents of North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Manitoba may also qualify for in-state tuition through a reciprocity agreement. Total costs per year will vary depending on your major and college of enrollment; however, general estimates place total COA at U of M for undergraduate resident students at $25,374 per year and non-residents at approximately $32,624 per year.
College can be expensive, although there are many ways to save money while attending or planning to attend the University of Minnesota. Many students take advantage of the fact that every credit after 13 is free at U of M, and students may take between 15 and 16 credits each semester while only paying for the first 13. This can help ensure that you will graduate in four years as well and lower the overall costs that add up by staying in school longer.Textbooks can get expensive as well, and there are several ways to cut costs here. Consider buying used textbooks, entering into a student book exchange, or even renting them in order to save some money. Be sure to shop around and compare costs if you are expected to buy the newest edition as well. Create a budget for your personal expenses, and try to stick to it. Consider less expensive recreational or social activities, and spend responsibly.If you have a car and want to park on campus, parking contracts are distributed based on an online lottery system each semester. Parking lots are the cheapest option for a student parking contract at U of M, costing $67.75 per month while ramps cost $100.75 per month; garages are the most expensive option at $131.75 per month. Entering the lottery system does not guarantee you a parking spot, either.
There are several cheaper transportation options than parking on campus. U of M offers free Campus Connector shuttles between campuses and Campus Circulator shuttles to help you get around campus. Additionally, U of M partners with local public transportation, offering the metro-area transit U-Pass for $100 a semester, which provides 24/7 access to local bus and light rail routes. The free Campus Zone Pass allows students to ride between the METRO Green Line campus stops without paying a fare. Discounted Metro Transit bus passes can be purchased and added to a Go-To card, greatly benefiting less frequent transit riders. U of M provides incentives such as the chance to win a $100 gift card each time you log a trip through the free Trip Tracker wherein you didn’t drive yourself. A bike- and pedestrian-friendly campus, many students at U of M choose these healthier and more cost-effective methods of getting around campus. Even in the snow, U of M has you covered with an extensive tunnel and skyway system, keeping you warm and dry all year round.Room and board fees will depend on your choice of residence hall, and typically sharing a room with one or more students will lower your costs. Residence halls at U of M range from $2,326 per semester for triple occupancy at a residence hall other than 17th Avenue Hall or Middlebrook Hall to $3,207 per semester for a single occupancy with a bath at 17th Avenue Hall. Suites range from $2,439-$2,883 a semester, and expanded housing rates are between $1,845 and $2,028 a semester while apartment rates are usually higher ranging from $3,011-$4,369 a semester for the fall 2015 term. These rates may change each term.
Additionally, on-campus residents are required to purchase a meal plan that ranges from $1,750-$2,100, depending on how many meals you choose. Try to choose a plan that will include the meals you will actually eat in order to keep your costs down. Students who choose not to live in the residence halls can choose to buy meal plan passes for 45 meals and $100 FlexDine a semester at $500, or 75 meals with $100 FlexDine at $800 a semester.
There are numerous scholarship opportunities for U of M students. Scholarships are free money toward the cost of college and generally merit- or need-based. U of M automatically considers students for university-wide scholarships with their application. The University of Minnesota offers the following scholarships to incoming freshman based on academic merit and excellent leadership qualities:
- Bentson Family Scholarship: preference to students of Jewish Faith; up to $24,000 over four years
- Maroon and Gold Leadership Award: Minnesota residents (or eligible MN Dream Act students) in the top 1-3 percent of class; $12,000 each of the four years
- Gold Scholar Award: preference for National Merit Scholars; $10,000 each year for four years
- National Scholarship: includes the Gold Excellence and National Excellence Scholarships for non-Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota residents in top 10 percent of class; Gold Excellence Scholarship awards up to full difference between non-resident and resident tuition while National Excellence Scholarship awards half of the difference between non-resident and resident tuition each year up to four years
- Presidential Scholarship: awards between $1,000 and $10,000 a year for four years
- Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship: for Minnesota residents (or eligible MN Dream Act students) interested in pursuing fine arts, English/creative writing, math, social studies, science, or foreign language
- Ruby Hackett and Weldon Jones Scholarship: for Minnesota resident (or eligible MN Dream Act students); awards $5,000 a year for four years
- 3M Alumni/Undergraduate Scholarship: for Minnesota residents (or eligible MN Dream Act students) or students from other operating 3M locations enrolled in the College of Biological Sciences, Carlson School of Management, or College of Science and Engineering; awards $3,000 a year for four years
- Iron Range Scholarship: for Minnesota residents (or eligible MN Dream Act students) in top 10 percent of class; awards $1,000-$3,000 a year for two to four years
- University of Minnesota Alumni Association Freshman Leadership Incentive Scholarship: for Minnesota resident (or eligible MN Dream Act students); preference for first-generation college students; awards $2,000-$3,000 for a year
- National Merit University of Minnesota Scholarship: National Merit finalists; awards $1,000-$2,000 a year for four years
- University of Minnesota Alumni Association Scholarship: awards up to $2,000 for a year
- University of Minnesota Study Abroad Freshman Scholarship: for students interested in studying abroad; awards $1,000 toward a U of M Learning Abroad Center-sponsored study abroad program
- Ethel Curry American Indian Scholarship: requires documentation of tribal enrollment and blood quantum proving one-fourth American Indian status; award amount varies and renewable up to four years
There are additional scholarships open to U of M incoming freshman as well, including scholarships from specific colleges of enrollment. For a full and current list, check the U of M website. Some scholarships are based on financial need as well, such as the:
- Annexstad Family Foundation Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship: preference to Minnesota residents; awards up to $25,000 over four years
- Olseth Family Scholarship: demonstrated leadership and academic merit; awards up to $23,000 for four years
- Buuck Family Scholarship: students committed to volunteerism; awards $5,000 a year for four years
- Coca Cola Scholarship: $5,000 for one year
- Edelstein Scholarship: students enrolled in College of Liberal Arts; $5,000 a year for four years
- Power of One Scholarship: students demonstrating excellent leadership; awards $5,000 for one year
- Bentson/Niblick Scholarship: preference to National Merit Finalists; awards $2,500 a year for four years
- Jay and Rose Phillips Family Scholarship: for Minnesota residents (or eligible MN Dream Act student); supports Presidential Scholarship recipients; awards $2,000 a year for two years
Some scholarships also require a separate application as well. Check the U of M scholarship webpage for more information on how and when to apply. International and transfer students may be eligible for scholarships also, and you are automatically considered for most of them with only your school application. International students are considered for the Global Excellence Scholarships that may cover either the full amount or 50 percent of the difference between resident and non-resident tuition by an assessment of their application, for instance. Undocumented students may also apply for the Minnesota Dream Act if they have attended a Minnesota high school for three years, have earned a GED or high school diploma in Minnesota, and are registered with the U.S. Selective Service (males register between ages 18 and 25). MN Dream Act students are eligible to receive in-state tuition rates and state and campus-based financial aid.
Outside scholarships also exist, depending on your affiliation with certain clubs or organizations, culture, or other factors. Leave no stone unturned when exploring free money options.
Applying for Financial Aid
In order to determine your eligibility for financial need-based aid offered through the state, university, or federal government, you must first apply for financial aid. All incoming students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens should complete this step in order to successfully budget for college costs. You never know when you will qualify for aid.
The first step is to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which requires your current income and tax information, Social Security number, and other personal information, as well as your parents’ financials if you are under age 24, unmarried, and have no dependents of your own. Your FAFSA calculates your expected family contribution (EFC) in order to determine how much and what type of aid you may qualify for. Financial aid may come in the form of scholarships, which are often highly competitive, grants that are based more on need, or student loans wherein you borrow money and have to repay it.
Once you have submitted your FAFSA and school information, U of M will receive a copy and review it along with your COA to help quantify your financial aid package. U of M will then present you with a Financial Aid Award Notice, or eFAAN, which is your formal offer of financial aid based on full-time attendance for both fall and spring semesters. This is an electronic process, and you will receive an email when your eFAAN is available. You will then need to submit any other necessary documents as well as modify or accept your financial aid package. Remember to only borrow what you need even if you are offered more.
You will automatically be considered for many grants based on your FAFSA and financial need. This includes the Federal Pell Grant, which provides undergraduate students seeking their first bachelor’s degree with up to $5,815 for the 2016-2017 academic year, depending on full-time status and plans to remain in school all year, the total cost of attendance, and financial need. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is another need-based grant paid with federal funds, although disbursed through U of M directly. These funds will vary year to year, ranging from $100-$4,000 a year, and early application is the best chance to receive FSEOG funds.
If you are a resident of Minnesota, by submitting your FAFSA , you are also automatically considered for the Minnesota State Grant, which is based on financial need. While amounts vary, the average award is around $1,800 a year. New undergraduate Minnesota residents, or eligible MN Dream Act students, are guaranteed a University of Minnesota Promise Scholarship (U Promise) if their family income is lower than $100,000 a year. These scholarships are campus-based aid and range from $570-$4,000 a year for four years for incoming new freshman and between $640-$2,000 for new transfer students.
You may be eligible to defer some of your tuition costs by working part-time on campus or off campus in service positions, through the federal Work-Study Program. Work-study jobs are flexible with your class schedule and designed to match up with your course of study or personal interests. This is a form of financial aid, and your eFAAN will indicate if you qualify.
There are a number of grants or tuition waivers that require an additional application or step in addition to your FAFSA submission. These may be service-related or based on your employment, disability status, or family situation. Please check the U of M One Stop Student Services webpage for more information on what may be available and what you will need to do to apply.
Sometimes after you have used up all of your free money and tuition reduction options, you will still need more in order to afford college. Student loans are generally low-cost options for student and parent borrowers that usually defer payments until after you leave or finish school. Federal student loans are generally preferred to private student loans as they usually have lower and fixed interest rates as well as flexible repayment plans. The U.S. Department of Education is your lender for federal student loans, while private financial institutions handle private loans. Student loans you will be considered for at U of M based on your FAFSA include:
- Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans: Undergraduate students seeking their first bachelor’s degree and demonstrating financial need may receive Subsidized Direct Loans, meaning interest is paid by the government, while graduate and undergraduate students without significant financial need may borrow Unsubsidized Direct Loans paying their own interest. Undergraduates may borrow between $5,500-$12,500 a year, depending on year in school, status, and dependency while graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 a year.
- Federal PLUS Loans: These are offered to parents of undergraduate or graduate students and require a credit check as they are not based on financial need. Parents and students may borrow up to full amount of COA minus financial aid received.
- Federal Perkins Loans: These are disbursed by the school and based on financial need with an interest rate of 5 percent. The amount will vary depending on need and available funds. The U of M average award is $2,000.
- University Trust Fund Loan: This university-based loan program is offered to full-time students with an interest rate of 7 percent. It awards up to $4,000 for undergraduates and $6,000 for graduate students.
Types of Student Loans
- Student Loans Home
- 911 GI Bill
- Alternative Schools
- Flight School
- For Bad Credit
- For Community College
- For Single Mothers
- Funding Graduate School
- GI Bill
- Interest Free
- Low Interest
- Medical School
- No Co-signer
- No Credit Check
- Parent PLUS
- Part-Time Students
- Post 911 GI Bill
- Private Loans with No Co-signer
- Private School
- Subsidized Loans