Making a College Education Accessible and Affordable for All

Students with demonstrated financial need may qualify for one or more types of need-based financial aid:

  • Grants, which do not have to be repaid
  • Work-study, which can provide student employment income right on campus
  • Loans, most offered at low interest rates with repayment deferred until after graduation

Scholarships can be an additional opportunity to help fund your education. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before any need based financial aid can be awarded. If you have questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office.


We encourage applicants to submit their FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 for the upcoming academic year to enable to the Financial Aid Office to process your FAFSA and meet the deadline to mail your financial aid award. FAFSA code: 002380.

Financial Aid Office

Grant Programs

Grants are awards made based on financial need and do not need to be repaid.

The amount varies based on financial need determined by the FAFSA.

Close to $6,400 is available based on financial need determined by the FAFSA.

Up to $3,000 is available based on expected family contribution (EFC) and Pell Grant eligibility.

Close to $13,000 is available based on financial need determined by the FAFSA.

Students must meet Minnesota Resident criteria as defined by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.  Students who have been granted reciprocity from another state do not qualify for the Minnesota State Grant.

Minnesota State Grants are available to students pursuing their first undergraduate degree.  Currently, eligible students may be considered for state grant funds during their first eight semesters of post-secondary education.

Students may only receive state grant funds for the equivalent of 12 quarter terms or 8 semester terms of full-time attendance.  The student's terms of attendance at other colleges, universities or technical colleges will be counted regardless of whether or not the student received the Minnesota State Grant at those institutions.

The Minnesota State Grant on your Award Letter is based on 15 credits of attendance per term. The amount of the Minnesota State Grant will be pro-rated if the student is enrolled for fewer than 15 credit hours per semester. If you are awarded a Minnesota State Grant and enroll in 12-14 credits, the actual amount disbursed may be lower than the full award amount provided at 15 credits and may also result in increased loan eligibility.

Students from states other than Minnesota are encouraged to research any home state grant programs that can be used in another state.   While many states limit the use of state funds to colleges or universities located in that state, some states provide “portable” funds that can be used in Minnesota.

Federal Work Study

Saint Mary’s offers students an opportunity to offset their education expenses or earn spending money through campus work-study opportunities.

Many students choose to work during college, and for qualifying students a work-study position is both convenient and a great way to meet other students while also getting to know faculty and staff. Positions are available in many university departments. If you qualify, you will be assigned up to $2,000 in work-study allowance. Jobs are posted online and students interview for jobs with individual offices or departments at the beginning of each semester. Starting rates are $9.86 per hour. Students are paid every two weeks.

Work Study payroll is deposited into students' non-Saint Mary's bank accounts.

Student Loan Options

Student loans can be a good option for paying all or some of the family contribution. Loans must be repaid with interest, but most are offered at low interest rates with repayment deferred until after graduation.

Upon completion of your FAFSA, full-time students are automatically considered for the following loans, which are based on financial need. Detailed information about each loan program will be included with your financial aid award letter.

Amount Varies

The subsidized Federal Student Loan is interest-free until the repayment period, which begins six months after college enrollment ends or when you drop below half-time status.

The unsubsidized Federal Student Loan is not interest-free, but interest payments may be paid or deferred while in school. It does not require a financial need to qualify.

Learn the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Student Loans

The maximum loan amount is the total cost of education at Saint Mary's less any other financial aid.

Submit the FAFSA and apply for the PLUS online. Payments may be postponed until six months after graduation. The loan must be paid within 10 years.

PLUS Loan information

Up to $20,000 a year is available, depending on cost of attendance less other financial aid. Requires quarterly interest payments within 90 days after disbursement. Repayment begins 12 months after college enrollment ends; maximum repayment period varies from 10-20 years, based on loan amount and interest rate. The interest rate never changes on the SELF fixed-rate loan. The interest rate can change quarterly – every three months — for the SELF variable rate loan.

SELF Loan information

Non-need Based Loan Programs

Additional financial assistance is also available in the form of non-need-based alternative loan programs, or private loans. For a list of lenders or more information, see the Electronic Lender List & Loan Comparison Chart. Our FASTChoice program will help determine the private loan that is right for you. Students should exhaust all federal loan programs before applying for private loans.

There are many different Private Loan Programs offered; please take the time to compare the terms and conditions of all private loans you are considering. Saint Mary’s has provided a Private Loan Options List as a service to students, and it is intended to assist in the selection of a lender. The selection of a lender is solely the student’s choice and may use any other lender outside of this list that may better suit his or her needs. Saint Mary’s does not endorse any one lender listed and will certify any private loan you are eligible to receive.

The lender options shown above lists unaffiliated lenders who provide students with loan programs that have longevity in the loan industry, provide good customer service to borrowers, competitive interest rates, and may offer a look back feature for past due balances. These lenders are also compatible with FASTChoice and ScholarNet to ensure efficient certification and disbursal of loan funds to Saint Mary’s. Lenders not associated with these loan programs will be processed by paper certification and paper check disbursal.

The Private Loan Option List is reviewed on a yearly basis. We have contacted the lenders previously selected and reviewed their loan product materials to make sure the criteria was met for the new academic year.

Key changes to the Private Loan Program

  • Active confirmation is now mandatory on ALL Private Loans. The lender must provide you with three new disclosures and you MUST actively accept each disclosure (which is usually done online) before the loan can be guaranteed. The three new disclosures are:
    1. Application Disclosure
    2. Approval Disclosure
    3. Final Disclosure
  • If a co-signer is used on a Private Loan, the borrower can no longer enter the co-signer information. The co-signer must enter their own information and also accept the new disclosures sent by the lender.
  • Students MUST complete a Self-Certification form for every private loan you wish to apply for and submit it to the lender prior to disbursement!

You may view a lender’s Application/Solicitation disclosure through FASTChoice on Great Lakes’ website. Click on the link above entitled “Electronic List and Loan Comparison Chart” to access this information. A hard copy is also available at the Financial Aid Office.

Saint Mary’s Financial Aid Code of Conduct can be viewed online by clicking on the link below or viewing a hard copy in the Financial Aid Office.

Code of Conduct (PDF)

Institutions that enter into an agreement with a potential student or parent of a student regarding a Title IV loan are required to inform the student or parent that the loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by servicers, guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.  Students can access their information as well at

In compliance with federal regulations under HEOA Sec. 489 amended Sec. 485B (d) (4) (20 U.S.C. 1092b) the College is required to notify you that approved loans will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by the U. S. Department of Education and will be accessible by servicers, guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system as determined by the U. S. Department of Education.

Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions of Title IV, HEA loans Terms and conditions of Federal Student Loans are listed on the Master Promissory Note signed by a borrower accepting the loan. The Stafford Promissory Note is completed online through

Before receiving a student loan, borrowers must complete an online entrance counseling session. This interactive counseling session will help you understand:

  1. How the loan process works;
  2. Managing your education expenses;
  3. Other financial resources to consider to help pay for your education; and
  4. Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

The online entrance counseling session will take you approximately 15-30 minutes to complete. To get started:

  1. Go to
  2. Log in using your FSA ID username and password
  3. Select "Complete Counseling"
  4. Select "Start Entrance Counseling".
  5. Select “Minnesota” and “Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota” from drop down boxes.
  6. Select “Notify This School.”
  7. Select Student Type and Continue
  8. Complete entrance counseling by answering all questions
  9. Click “Submit”
  10. Print the Entrance Counseling for your records.

The Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling is used when a student has borrowed in a federal loan program and has dropped below half time status (please see definition listed below).

It is mandatory that this counseling information be completed by students in order to receive their rights and responsibilities of repaying their student loans.

Please click on the Federal Stafford and Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling link in order to complete the exit counseling.

*Please note: It does not matter which loan program (Federal Stafford Loan or Federal Direct Loan) you have borrowed from. The exit counseling is the same for both programs.

Federal Stafford & Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling

*Half-time status is defined as the following:

  1. Graduate students must maintain the following: a minimum of 4 credits per term or an equivalent to this OR if you are registered by a learning contract, you must maintain one credit per month of your contract. (Example: 7-month contract must have at least 7 credits in order to be half-time)
  2. Undergraduate students must maintain the following: a minimum of 6 credits per term.