Feb 28, 2024 | By: Lakeland News

MN Higher Education Commissioner Visits BSU to Discuss New Financial Aid Programs

On Tuesday, Bemidji State University welcomed Dennis Olson, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner. He visited the American Indian Resource Center to discuss the state’s financial aid programs for higher education.

Minnesota is providing two new scholarship programs – the American Indian Scholars program and the North Star Promise Scholarship program. American Indian Scholars is a “first-dollar” tuition and fee-free pathway for Minnesotans eligible for resident tuition who are enrolled members or citizens of any federally recognized tribe or Canadian First Nation to attend a Minnesota State institution (such as Bemidji State) or the University of Minnesota. North Star Promise is a “last-dollar” program that covers the balance of tuition and fees remaining after other scholarships, grants, stipends and tuition waivers have been applied.

“We estimate about 15,000 to 20,000 students across the state will be eligible to take advantage of the programs,” said Olson. “So a lot of really exciting financial aid opportunities that are fairly new as a result of the last legislative session. And they complement some of our longstanding programs we’ve had, like the Minnesota State Grant program, the Minnesota Indian Scholarship program as well. So a lot of a lot of new financial aid that also, you know, marries really well with existing financial aid options we’ve already had.”

According to Olson, the American Indian Scholars program is getting about $7.5 million dollars each year across all public colleges and universities, and over a $100 million is invested for the North Star Promise program. More information on eligibility requirements for American Indian Scholars can be found here, while information on North Star Promise can be found here.

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