Many students qualify for some type of financial aid. Most types of financial aid require that you:
- Have been admitted to a degree-seeking program or are taking specific prerequisite courses required for admission to a degree program
- Are seeking your first degree or second degree
- Meet the minimum credit requirements for the type of aid
- Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards
Read more details below, or contact One Stop with questions.
Admitted to degree program or taking prerequisites
Formal admission is different from just taking classes. Most financial aid requires admission to a degree-seeking program. There is limited aid available for non-degree and certificate-seeking students.
If you are required to take prerequisite courses before admission to an undergraduate, graduate, or professional program, you may be eligible for federal student loans. Contact One Stop Student Services and complete a Prerequisite Coursework Certification form to apply for federal financial aid.
First or second degree
Most students qualify for some type of financial aid while earning their first degree. When you satisfy all requirements for your first degree, you will no longer be eligible to receive federal financial aid for subsequent terms due to US Department of Education regulations. However, you may still be eligible to receive other non-federal financial aid.
If you are admitted to a second undergraduate degree program, you may be eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans.
If you add a second major after completing a bachelor’s degree, or if you are continuing coursework to complete a second major in a degree program from which you’ve already graduated, you are not eligible for financial aid, including loans.
Minimum number of credits
Most types of financial aid require that you enroll in a minimum number of credits in order to receive the aid. The minimum number of credits varies depending on the type of offer and your degree program.
Your enrollment is reviewed about 10 days before the start of the term. Your financial aid offer will be prorated (if necessary) based on the number of credits you’re enrolled in on that date. This ensures your financial aid is disbursed to your student account as quickly as possible.
In order to comply with financial aid regulations, the University of Minnesota will then review your enrollment each term on the last date to add full semester classes without approval from your college and recalculate your financial aid. This is known as the census date.
All types of aid can be affected if your enrollment has changed by the census date. If your enrollment has increased or decreased by the census date, your aid eligibility will be adjusted to the appropriate amount based on your revised enrollment.
If you increase your enrollment level after the census date:
- If you are given permission to add classes after the University census date deadline, you'll be responsible for any additional tuition charges. Contact One Stop to review additional financial aid eligibility.
- Your aid/scholarship eligibility will be reviewed by the Office of Student Finance if applicable.
If you decrease your enrollment level after the census date:
- Coursework drops can impact your financial aid eligibility. Please refer to Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
- State aid is subject to review, and may be adjusted per your enrollment level.
- Dropping below six credits prior to the disbursement of loans will result in loan cancellation in compliance with financial aid regulations.
Undergraduate credit requirements by financial aid type
Federal Pell Grants
The amount listed on your financial aid offer is based on the assumption that you will be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester. If you take fewer than 12 credits in a semester, your Federal Pell Grant will be prorated based on the number of credits you enroll in.
- Full time: 12+ credits
- Part or 3/4 time: 9 to 11 credits
- Half time: 6 to 8 credits
- Less than half time: 1 to 5 credits
Minnesota State Grant
You must register for at least 15 credits each semester in order to receive your full Minnesota State Grant. You will receive a prorated portion of your grant if you register for fewer than 15 credits in a semester. You must register for at least 3 credits to receive any portion of your Minnesota State Grant. If you add or drop credits during the first 2 weeks of class, your Minnesota State Grant amount will be adjusted.
Work-study requires you to enroll in 6 or more credits each term. For summer work-study, you must be enrolled for the summer term.
You must be enrolled for at least 6 credits each term to be eligible for Federal Direct student loans. University Trust Fund Loans require a minimum 12 credits of enrollment each fall/spring semester and 6 credits in summer term if loan funds are available.
Graduate credit requirements by financial aid type
Full-time and half-time enrollment is defined by your program or degree type.
You must be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for Federal Direct student loans. You must be enrolled full time to be eligible for the Health Professions Loan, Nursing Loan, and University Trust Fund Loans.
University of Minnesota departmental scholarships
Full-time enrollment is generally required for departmental scholarships. Contact your department for more information.
Scholarship credit requirements are determined by the donor. If you receive a private scholarship that does not specify a required number of credits, it will pay into your student account if you are enrolled half time or more each semester.
Work-study requires you to be enrolled at least half time each semester.
Audit registration ("V" registration) does not count toward financial aid credit requirements.
Online and Distance Learning (ODL) courses
Extended-term (9-month) Online and Distance Learning (ODL) courses do not count toward financial aid credit requirements, with two exceptions: the Minnesota State Grant and the Minnesota GI Bill allow all ODL courses you are enrolled in during the first 2 weeks of the semester to be counted. No restrictions are made on financial aid for term-based (semester) ODL courses.
Course 8333/8444—one credit full-time equivalent
Your financial aid eligibility will be based on tuition and fee charges for 1 credit, books, and help with living expenses.
999 Registration—zero credit
This type of registration does not count toward financial aid credit requirements.
Online classes that are "term-based" are eligible for financial aid.
Online classes that are "extended term" are not eligible for financial aid. These are typically offered by the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.
You can find more information about financial aid eligibility at Federal Student Aid. Information about financial aid opportunities for undocumented students under the Minnesota Dream Act is also available.