Bemidji Pioneer: NTC takes part in pilot program offering free tuition for qualified students

BEMIDJI — A pilot program through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education is offering qualifying students entering Northwest Technical College this fall an opportunity to receive their education for free.

MnSCU’s Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program provides financial help to students enrolled in qualifying career and technical programs at two-year colleges in Minnesota. The program is intended to help students complete programs in two years or less, and find jobs in high-demand occupations, a release said. The Minnesota Legislature has voted to fund the pilot program for the next two academic years.

NTC has nearly 70 academic programs that are eligible for the program. A complete list of eligible programs is available on the Office of Higher Education website.

To qualify for the grants, students must be enrolled in a qualifying certificate, diploma or associate’s degree program at NTC. They also must have completed high school, an Adult Basic Education Program or earned a GED as a Minnesota resident during the 2015-16 academic year.

Students who complete certain AmeriCorps service programs in 2015-16 are also eligible if they started their program immediately after high school.

Qualifying students must come from a household with a 2015 adjusted gross income of $90,000 or less.

To apply, students must complete the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available now. Undocumented students should apply using the 2016-17 Minnesota Dream Act state financial aid application.

Funding for the application is limited. Applicants will be ranked by application date.

For more information about the application process and the rules associated with the program, visit the Office of Higher Education website.