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  • Determine Your Financial Aid

Office of Scholarship & Financial Aid

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  • Determine Your Financial Aid

    Need-based financial aid programs are designed with the assumption that students and parents have a responsibility to pay a share of educational costs. The amount you and your family are expected to pay will vary based upon factors including: income, assets, number of children in the family, number of children attending college. Federal and state financial aid is offered only if the expected family contribution (EFC) is not enough to cover the cost of attending a particular school. Although the expected family contribution will stay the same, your financial aid eligibility may increase when you apply to higher-priced colleges.

    Paying for College

  • When meeting the financial costs for college, the major responsibility rests with you, the student, and your family.  The family “contribution” is an assessment of your ability to pay based on information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Family contributions are determined by using a formula called Federal Needs Analysis Methodology.  For dependent students, it is based on student and parent information.  For independent students, it is based on student and spouse/partner information.  The analysis reviews income, taxes paid, family size, number in college and assets.  Allowances for taxes paid, Social Security, and moderate family living costs are deducted from income and the remaining available income is then assessed to determine the amount available to assist with school costs.

    In calculating Minnesota grant eligibility, the dependent student’s contribution is not used, only the parents’ contribution is used.

    When available, other resources, such as State Veterans benefits, Division of Rehabilitation Services assistance, RA compensation, or housing and tuition waivers meet a portion of the educational costs, and aid is adjusted accordingly.


    A student is considered dependent for financial aid purposes unless one of a limited number of circumstances are met (age, marital or veteran status, etc).  Parent information is required to determine financial aid eligibility.

    Dependent students are expected to have a contribution available based on 50% of their income after allowances for taxes and living expenses are deducted.  If savings or investments are reported, 35 percent of these assets are calculated to be available for school costs.  Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the combination of your contribution and your parents’ contribution.


    Independent students without dependents and married independent students are normally expected to have an amount equal to 50 percent of their available income to help meet school costs.

    In addition, 35 percent of any reported assets, such as savings, are part of the contribution.  If there are additional assets from real estate and investments or business, a contribution is calculated.

    Independent students with dependents, other than a spouse, have a maintenance allowance which reflects the number of persons in the student’s family.  In some cases, the student contribution may be zero because the amount allowed for family living costs is equal to or greater than the available income.


    When determining aid eligibility, the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid establishes an average budget which includes estimated costs of tuition and fees, books and supplies, personal and incidental costs, room and board, transportation and if applicable, child care costs for children supported by the student.  Personal and incidental expenses are included in the budget to cover such costs for laundry, personal care items, transportation and entertainment.  Students living with parents will have a lower budget than students who live on or off campus.

    Budget adjustments can be made for commuters (more than 40 miles round trip daily), for students from out of state and for child care and dependent care costs for individuals supported by the student.  If you have special circumstances affecting your cost of education, contact the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid and provide documentation.

    After determining the family contribution and the cost of attendance, aid eligibility is reviewed and an award package determined.  The formula used to determine aid is:

    Cost of Attendance – Family Contribution = Financial Need

    Awards are usually based on full-time enrollment.  Students who are enrolled for less than an academic year or for less than 12 credits per semester, have their budgets, contributions, and awards adjusted.

    Paying for College

    The financial aid estimator will help you estimate your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant, Minnesota State Grant, and federal education tax benefits.  The estimator is based on the federal calculation of your Estimated Family Contribution and the tuition and fees for the Minnesota institution you select.  Remember, the results provided here should be used ONLY as an estimate and are no substitute for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or any formal documents you receive concerning your financial aid.


    Financial Aid Estimator

    North Dakota, South Dakota, and Manitoba freshmen who enter the University during the year immediately following high school graduation do not need to apply for reciprocity.  All other North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Manitoba students attending Minnesota State University Moorhead must apply for reciprocity.  Reciprocity application forms are online.

    Follow site instructions to access the appropriate state.  Students may print the reciprocity application for their state of residence, complete the form, and mail it to their home state’s reciprocity office.


    Federal and state regulations require that all students make satisfactory academic progress toward completion of degree or certificate requirements to receive student financial aid. All prior terms of attempted enrollment, including summer, are considered in determining satisfactory academic progress regardless of whether aid was awarded for the term.

    Failure to meet satisfactory progress standards results in ineligibility for state and federal aid programs (including all grants, loans, campus Work Study, Vocational Rehabilitation, Post-Secondary Childcare, Indian Scholarships, and University Scholarships). Standards are published yearly. MSUM reserves the right to withdraw aid at any time if it becomes readily apparent that a student has not maintained satisfactory academic progress.

    Students who fail to meet the minimum standards will be notified by letter that they are no longer eligible to receive financial aid. It is possible for students to be placed on financial aid suspension for failure to meet more than one type of Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Students who have not received financial aid in the past are immediately subject to these standards when they apply for financial aid.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

    Appeal for Financial Aid Suspension