Flanagan, education officials highlight Minnesota’s free college tuition program

State leaders gathered Thursday afternoon to highlight a program that will provide pathways to free college tuition for some Minnesotans.

During a visit to Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and state education officials encouraged students to apply for the North Star Promise Scholarship program.

While the program doesn’t officially start until the fall of 2024, the state estimates it will help as many as 20,000 students afford higher education in the first year.

Legislation creating the program was approved by state lawmakers last year and is focused on covering the remainder of tuition and fees after students receive other scholarships, grants, stipends and waivers. To be eligible, Minnesotans have to have a family-adjusted gross income below $80,000, and all state, public and tribal institutions are eligible under the program.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson called the program a “game-changer for students and families.”

He and others also stressed how important it is for students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Olson noted there have been issues with the FAFSA recently but urged Minnesotans to still make that a priority.

Thursday’s event comes during Career and Technical Education Month.