Eligibility for financial aid

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 complete prerequisite courses before admission to an undergraduate, graduate, or professional program, you may be eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. Contact One Stop and complete a Petition to Reinstate Financial Aid Eligibility 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 to a bachelor's degree you have already received from the University of Minnesota, you are not eligible for federal 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. Audited courses do not count toward financial aid eligibility.

See full-time and half-time credit definitions

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.

Your enrollment will be reviewed for the final time each term on the last date to add full semester classes without approval from your college. If you have enrolled in any additional credits, you may be eligible for additional aid. If you have dropped any classes, you may lose eligibility for financial aid, and would then be billed for any aid you’ve already received. If you add classes after the final review, it may not make you eligible for additional financial aid. Contact One Stop to determine if classes added after the drop/add period can be included when determining your eligibility for aid.

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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

Work-study requires you to enroll in 6 or more credits each term including summer. For summer work-study, you must be enrolled in 6 credits for the summer term. 

Loans

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 semester.

University of Minnesota departmental scholarships

Full-time enrollment is generally required for departmental scholarships. Contact your department for more information.

Private scholarships

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 automatically if you are enrolled full-time. A communication from the donor may be required if you’re less than full time.

Graduate credit requirements by financial aid type

Full-time and half-time enrollment is defined by your program or degree type.

Loans

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.

Private scholarships

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 automatically if you are enrolled full-time. A communication from the donor may be required if you’re less than full time.

Work-study

Work-study requires you to be enrolled at least half time each semester.

Audit coursework

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.

Additional resources

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.