Financial aid and education benefits

Apply for financial aid through the FAFSA

If you're using military education benefits, you still need to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be offered financial aid such as loans and grants. Follow the steps to apply for financial aid.

FAFSA dependency status

When to choose “Dependent Status”

You must file under the dependent status if you are an undergraduate student and you do not fall into one of the categories listed under independent status. If you are a member of the Guard or Reserves, but have not previously deployed, you must file as a dependent student if you don’t meet one of the independent status qualifications. 

When to choose “Independent Status”

If you meet one of the conditions below, you should file under the independent status and are not required to give parental information.

  • You are a veteran of the United States Armed Services.
  • You currently serve on active duty in the armed services for purposes other than training.
  • You are at least 24 years old.
  • You are married.
  • You are enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program.
  • When you were age 13 or older, both your parents were deceased, you were in foster care, or you were a ward of the court.
  • You are/were an emancipated minor.

Veterans who left active duty within the last 1-2 years

If you're an undergraduate student starting school within 1-2 years of leaving active duty, your income may be significantly less than what is reported on the FAFSA. To be sure that you get the most beneficial aid possible from the FAFSA, complete the Special Circumstances Appeal form. Go to the Forms page and choose the Special Circumstances appeal form for the dependency status and academic year that applies to you. Contact University Veteran Services if you have questions.

GI Bill® not affected by FAFSA

The GI Bill® is not impacted by the FAFSA. If you receive grants or loans through FAFSA you will still receive the same amount of the GI Bill® as if you did not. Many undergraduate students are eligible for federal grants and we highly recommend that undergraduate students file a FAFSA. If you are a graduate student and think that you might want to use loans, you should also complete a FAFSA.


The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has compiled a list of scholarships available to veterans and their spouses and families.

Post-9/11 GI Bill® and scholarships or assistantships

If you receive scholarships

Some scholarships may reduce the amount of the tuition payment the GI Bill® sends. If your scholarship or grant is only allowed to pay tuition, the GI Bill® cannot pay that tuition a second time. For graduate and professional students, we assume the scholarship or grant is meant for tuition only. If you are a graduate or professional student and your scholarship is meant to pay for costs beyond tuition, you must submit documentation from the scholarship provider to our office to be eligible to receive the scholarship on top of the GI Bill®.

If you have a teaching, graduate or research assistantship

Teaching, graduate, and research assistantship appointments often come with a tuition waiver or offset. These amounts must be deducted from what the GI Bill® pays. For example, if your tuition costs $10,000 and your fees cost $700, a Teaching Appointment might cover the full cost of the $10,000 tuition. The GI Bill® will then pay the $700 along with the standard Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and book stipend amounts. If your assistantship covers half of your tuition, then the GI Bill® will pay the other half.

Financial aid for military families

The federal government offers financial aid for college to veterans, future military personnel, active duty personnel, or those related to veterans or active duty personnel. Visit Aid for Military Families for more information.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at