MN Dream Act: New Student Portal | Fostering Independence Grant | Apply Now For Dual Training Grant

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March 21, 2023

New MN Dream Act Student Portal Launched

Young smiling female Hispanic student on a college campus

Applying for and accessing financial aid to pursue higher education should be an equitable process for all students, regardless of immigration status. To remove barriers, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education recently improved and launched a new student portal and application process for the Minnesota Dream Act to provide a similar filing experience to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

“We want to reduce obstacles and ensure Minnesota Dream Act applicants have a high-quality student experience that is user-friendly and intuitive by investing in technology and tools that can streamline this process from start to finish,” said OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson. 

The Minnesota Dream Act has been moved into MNAid, a secure platform with a Student Portal, with a number of new features to enhance the student experience. Click to learn more: LINK

Fostering Independence Grants Benefitted 389 Minnesotans in Fall 2022

The Fostering Independence Grant (FIG) is a new financial aid program that helps Minnesotans who were in foster care attend higher education by breaking down financial barriers. The grant is the first of its kind for Minnesota, with the goal of paying the full cost of attendance for students including tuition, fees, and living expenses such as housing and transportation. In its first semester of implementation, the grant was awarded to 389 students.

Fostering Independence Grants are made possible through an ongoing $3.8 million investment by Governor Walz and the Minnesota Legislature during the 2021 session. Of the 389 students awarded the grant in fall 2022:

  • 249 students were enrolled in a Minnesota State 2-year program,
  • 68 students were enrolled in a Minnesota State 4-year program,
  • 19 students were enrolled in a University of Minnesota program,
  • 48 students were enrolled in Minnesota private college program, and
  • 5 students were enrolled in a Minnesota for-profit college program

According to the data, 157 of the grant recipients attended a college in the metro, while 232 attended a college located in Greater Minnesota.

Learn more on the OHE website

Dual Training Grant Application Open for Minnesota Employers

Dual Trainee Success Stories - Six photos of diverse group of Minnesotans framed in squares. OHE logo in bottom right corner.

The application period for the 2023 Dual Training Grant is now open for eligible employers to apply for funding for related instruction of their dual-training programs. Grants are available to employers who are in the following high-growth, in-demand industries: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services and information technology. 

To receive the grant, employers develop their own dual-training programs for more than 80 eligible occupations with identified competency standards within the Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline, which is administered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. The application window will be open until April 3.

Hear from dual trainee graduates about their success with the grant, experience with their employer, and the positive impact on their careers. Click to read the success stories and learn more about the Dual Training Grant.

Calling All School Districts: Now is Your Chance to Join the Direct Admissions Program

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has issued a call to all secondary school leaders, asking them to join the state's Direct Admissions program. 

The Direct Admissions pilot is designed to encourage all graduating seniors to consider themselves “college material” by proactively notifying them of the colleges and universities that are eager to admit them. Students will receive a letter at the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year that lets them know which Minnesota colleges and universities will guarantee them admissions, information about how to apply, and other essential next steps.

To help districts decide whether to join this effort, we put together this FAQ document and are hosting four virtual information sessions for school leaders:

If you are a superintendent, principal, or K-12 counselor at a school in Minnesota, please click a link to register for session of your choice. In addition, school leader can reach out to program staff with any questions or to indicate interest in joining Direct Admissions: 

Over 200 Minnesotans Benefitted from Student Teacher Grants in 2022

African American teacher wearing tan sweatshirt, smiling while holding an abacus counting tool

New reports from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) show that a total of 212 Minnesotans received Underrepresented Student Teacher Grants and Student Teacher Grants in Shortage Areas to support their student teaching during the 2021-22 school year. A total of $1.4 million in funding was disbursed between the two grants.

“Too often, costs associated with student teaching stand as barrier for those pursuing a career in education,” OHE Commissioner Dennis Olson said. “These grants provide necessary funding to ensure Minnesotans are able to finish their program and become fully licensed teachers. The targeted nature of the grants helps to ensure greater representation in our teacher workforce and connect future teachers to districts in Greater Minnesota where there is a high need for educators.”

Click to read the news release and view full reports.

Ready Set FAFSA! - Access February 2023 Financial Aid Webinar Recordings

Reads "Virtual financial aid sessions for students and families!" Female student shouting "Ready, Set, FAFSA" with text in Hmong, Spanish, and Somali

Did you miss any of the February 2023 Ready, Set, FAFSA! sessions? All recordings, presentations, resources and Q&As are available now on the Minnesota Goes to College website.

The financial aid webinars are created specifically for students and families to help them prepare for the college-going process. Each session recording is available in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong.

Events are held in partnership with the Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) Group, the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Association of Financial Aid Administrators (MAFAA).

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