Native American Promise Tuition Program

Starting the Fall 2022 semester, the University of Minnesota Native American Promise Tuition Program expands upon a full tuition waiver program on the University’s Morris campus, which has long been in place through Minnesota statute given the campus property’s history with Native American boarding schools.

The expanded program will provide substantial financial support, in many cases free tuition, to first-year undergraduate students and transfer students from Tribal colleges on the remaining four campuses who are enrolled citizens in one of Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations. 

To be considered, students must submit an admissions application, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), meet family household income requirements, and be an enrolled citizen of one of the 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations in Minnesota.

Eligibility Requirements

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What are the eligibility requirements for the Native American Promise Tuition Promise Program?

Newly admitted University of Minnesota freshmen undergraduate students and transfer students from one of the four Tribal colleges in Minnesota who are enrolled citizens of one of the 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations in Minnesota, who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and meet income requirements will automatically be considered for Native American Promise Tuition Program. 

Note, students enrolling in U of M Morris are reviewed as part of the existing program. 

To be eligible, students must:

  • Apply to and be admitted as either a freshman or transfer student from one of the four Tribal colleges in Minnesota to a University of Minnesota campus, having satisfied all of the University's preparation requirements.

    Note, students enrolling in U of M Morris are reviewed as part of the existing program
  • Complete the FAFSA annually. The FAFSA becomes available on October 1, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
  • Enroll full-time, taking at least the minimum credits outlined by campus below, per semester, in a baccalaureate degree program at the University of Minnesota, as a first time degree-seeking student. (Students who have already received an undergraduate degree are not eligible for the Native American  Promise Tuition Program.)
    • Twin Cities and Rochester campuses:  Minimum 13 credits,  15+ credits are recommended to complete your degree in 4 years.
    • Crookston and Duluth campuses: Minimum 12 credits,  15+ credits are recommended to complete your degree in 4 years.
      Note, students enrolling in U of M Morris are reviewed as part of the existing program.
  • Have a family income as shown below and demonstrate financial need.
    • 100% tuition for students with a family income up to $75,000 
    • 90% tuition for students with a family income between $75,001- $100,000
    • 80% tuition for students with a family income between $100,001- $125,000 

Note: Native American families with incomes over $125,000 will be eligible for other state and federal need- and merit-based aid. Students often receive a combination of need-based and merit-based aid.

  • Continued eligibility will be dependent on good standing and progress toward degree, including:
    • Full-time enrollment 
      • Twin Cities and Rochester campuses:  Minimum 13 credits, 15+ credits are recommended to complete your degree in 4 years.
      • Crookston and Duluth campuses: Minimum 12 credits, 15+ credits are recommended to complete your degree in 4 years.
        Note, students enrolling in U of M Morris are reviewed as part of the existing program.
    • Maintaining a term and cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
    • Declaring their major and subsequently enrolling in major coursework per the promoting timely graduation policy

Please note that the Native American Promise Tuition Program applies only to fall and spring semesters. Tuition for courses taken during May or summer terms will not be covered.

About the Native American Promise Tuition Program

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What does this program cover?

Starting in the fall 2022 academic year, the Native American Promise Tuition Program provides financial support to cover up to the cost of tuition (amounts vary by campus), for four consecutive years for new incoming freshmen and up to three years for eligible transfer students from the four Tribal Colleges in Minnesota.  See Eligibility Requirements for further details. 

Do I need to apply for the University of Minnesota Native American Promise Tuition Program?

There is not a separate Native American Promise Tuition Promise Program application, but students need to provide verification of Tribal Citizenship. Students who are admitted to one of the four University of Minnesota campuses and also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be automatically considered.  

Note, students enrolling in U of M Morris are reviewed as part of the existing program

To be considered:

  1. Apply for admission to the University of Minnesota.
    For deadline information and online applications, visit each campus' Web site.
  2. Apply for financial aid.
    For more information about applying for financial aid or to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online go to https://fafsa.gov. The FAFSA becomes available on October 1, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
  3. Provide your Tribal Enrollment information.  More information on how to complete this step will be provided. 

Is the Native American Promise Tuition Program renewable?

Recipients are guaranteed their Native American Promise Tuition Program funding for four consecutive years for freshmen and up to three years for transfer students from the four Minnesota Tribal colleges as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria above.

Are there any elements of this program beyond tuition support?

The program also includes building further awareness of existing student support programs for Native American students, including the Circle of Indigenous Nations, the American Indian Cultural House on the Twin Cities campus, the American Indian Learning Resource Center on the Duluth campus, and American Indian Support Services on the Morris campus.

How is eligibility determined under the new expanded program?

To be eligible for the University of Minnesota Native American Promise Tuition Program, students must be citizens of one of 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations in Minnesota (and also meet other Eligibility Requirements).

Receiving Native American Promise Tuition Funds

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Do students need to apply for the Native American Promise Tuition Program?

There is not a separate Native American Promise Tuition Promise Program application, but students need to provide verification of Tribal Citizenship. Students who are admitted to one of the four University of Minnesota campuses and also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be automatically considered.  

Note, students enrolling in U of M Morris are reviewed as part of the existing program

To be considered:

  1. Apply for admission to the University of Minnesota.
    For deadline information and online applications, visit each campus' Web site.
  2. Apply for financial aid.
    For more information about applying for financial aid or to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online go to https://fafsa.gov. The FAFSA becomes available on October 1, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
  3. Provide your Tribal Enrollment information.  More information on how to complete this step will be provided. 

Is the FAFSA required?

Yes. Students must complete a FAFSA for the first year and annually thereafter to verify income and financial need.

How is total family income defined?

Total family income is calculated by the FAFSA, please contact One Stop Student Services if you have questions.

Why doesn’t this program offer completely free tuition to all citizens of the 11 Tribal Nations?

The program’s objective is to provide higher education access to students who may not otherwise have that access. As the University does with financial aid for all of its students, this program is built around the needs of individual students and their families, providing more support—up to completely free tuition—to those with the greatest financial need.

What existing tuition programs were/are in place for Native American students?

The University’s Morris campus has long had a tuition waiver in place through Minnesota statute. Morris admits qualified Native American students free of tuition charges. Native American students do not need to establish residence on trust lands, nor do they need to be Minnesota residents to qualify. More information about this program can be found here.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

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Why are you starting this program now?

Since the beginning of University President Joan Gabel’s presidency, University leaders have acknowledged the need to better serve citizens of Minnesota’s Tribal nations and their communities. This program is a meaningful step to increasing access, further embracing diversity and continuing to improve retention and graduation rates while closing opportunity gaps. All of these goals align with the University’s mission and our systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025.

Will Native American students living outside Minnesota be eligible for this program?

Students who are enrolled citizens of one of the 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations in Minnesota are eligible for the University of Minnesota Native American Promise Tuition Program regardless of current residence. Native American students who are not eligible for this program may still be eligible for a tuition waiver on the Morris campus.

Why is this program limited to undergraduate students only?

As with nearly all U of M need-based scholarship programs, the U of M Native American Promise Tuition Program focuses resources on undergraduate students, who often have significant unmet financial need in attending higher education.  Our other need-based scholarship programs, including the U of M Promise and Promise Plus programs, also support only undergraduates.