Riverland offers free tuition to 88 programs

Published 10:21 am Monday, July 18, 2016

Thanks to the 2015 Minnesota State Legislature, Riverland Community College students are eligible for free tuition to 88 different programs this fall.

The Occupational Grant Pilot Program will provide significant financial assistance to students in qualifying career and technical programs at any school in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

The grant, created by the 2015 Minnesota Legislature, provides students financial help at two-year colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to complete occupational and career programs within two years and find employment in high-demand jobs.

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“It think it’s a tremendous opportunity if you happen to be in the group that qualifies,” said Director of Grants and Alumni Relations, Laura Helle.

To qualify, high school grads and eligible GED recipients must meet certain financial and academic criteria. The criteria explains that students must: begin enrollment during fall seamster 2016, meet the definition of Minnesota resident used for state financial aid programs, have an adjusted gross income of $90,000 or less for the 2015 tax year and participate in free mentoring services throughout the student’s academic program.

According to Helle, the grant is a gap program. Students must fill out the FAFSA form and if they qualify for the grant, anything not covered by FAFSA will be payed for. However, students are advised to apply early as funding is limited and awarded on a first come first served basis.

“It’s going to make a big difference between two years where you’d be ready to go to work and in debt or starting at zero [debt],” Helle said.

Some of the eligible programs include: accounting, computer technology, criminal justice, human services and cosmetology. The grant is available for up to 72 semester credits, including any required developmental courses taken after admission to the occupational program.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “Not having to take on student debt in order to get started in a career.”

Full eligibility requirements and a complete list of programs included in the grant can be found at www.riverland.edu/tuition-costs/zero-tuition.

Questions about the Minnesota State and College Universities Two-Year Occupational Grant Pilot Program can contact Riverland’s financial aid director at 507-433-0816 or email patty.hemann@riverland.edu. For information about a particular occupational program, contact the admissions office at 507-433-0642 or email taylor.daubenberger@riverland.edu.