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Paying for College

Instate Tuition for all students!

At Southwest Minnesota State University, making your education affordable is important to us!  We strive to ensure that paying for college makes sense while you are here, and when you are done.  

Below you will find information about:

Check out the information below for more information about how you can finance your education at SMSU!

Cost of Attendance

The annual cost of attendance can be seen in the Estimated Total Cost panel on this page. Some key things to keep in mind:

  • SMSU offers "Banded Tuition" which means you can take between 12-18 credits and your tuition doesn't change! You only pay the 12 credit rate!

  • SMSU offers in-state tuition to nearly everyone. No out-state rates. One affordable rate. One incredible education. Infinite opportunity. Reciprocity rates may apply.

    *Reciprocity rates may apply to students from ND, SD, IA, WI, MSEP States and Manitoba for the upcoming academic year. 

  • Housing and Food includes your residence hall room and your meal plan cost.

  • The housing cost is based on a double occupancy room with a roommate in the traditional residence hall.  For more information about room types and costs, please visit our Residence Life homepage.

  • The meal plan cost is based on our "traditional" meal plan of 14 meals per week combined with $150 Dining Dollars. 

Estimated Total Cost

FOR 2023-24

Scholarships at SMSU

Southwest Minnesota State University is proud to reward high academic achievers with academic scholarships to help them with their college costs.  Not only that, but is our opportunity to invest in you and your future. 

The Office of Admission awards scholarships to new entering 1st year and transfer students.  Current students should inquire with the Financial Aid Office and their Academic Department for scholarship opportunities for currently enrolled students.

Scholarships are available to qualified students who are admitted to SMSU and complete the SMSU Scholarship ApplicationBy completing this application, you will have applied for all new entering student scholarships.  The only exception is the SMSU Alumni Heritage Scholarships which require a separate application.  For information about the Alumni Heritage Scholarships, please visit the Alumni homepage.

Scholarship Priority Deadlines


Scholarships for freshmen students will be awarded the 1st week of each month starting in October.  Students must be admitted to SMSU before the last date of the previous month and qualify to receive a scholarship offer.


1st week of June - Must be admitted to SMSU by May 31

*Students admitted after these dates can still be offered scholarships upon admission to SMSU.

By clicking on the links below, you can view the award amounts and criteria.  If you have questions about scholarship criteria, awards, or applying, please contact Director of Admission Charlotte Wahle or (800)-642-0684 ext 6286.

The Mustang Scholarship Program is a broad and inclusive scholarship program that benefits all students who meet the scholarship criteria.

FAFSA Information

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens to assist them in paying for their college education.  The application process is the same for traditional, non-traditional, dependent and independent applicants.

SMSU FAFSA Code is: 002375 

How do I apply?

  1. Apply for your Federal Student Aid ID - Each student must apply for a FSA ID. The FSA ID allows users to electronically access personal information on Federal Student Aid websites as well as electronically sign a FAFSA.

  2. Complete the FAFSA - Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year. We recommend that you print out the Pre-Application Worksheet. Use this worksheet to assist you in collecting information for the online FAFSA Application.

For other FAFSA filing options, deadline information, and more complete directions, please visit



Q: Do I need to fill out the FAFSA every year...?

Yes. You need to fill out a FAFSA for the academic year for which you would like to receive federal financial aid. Complete the FAFSA online at

Q: I don't know where I want to go to college. Should I wait until decide to apply for Financial Aid?

NO! On the FAFSA you may list up to 5 different institutions you would like to receive your FAFSA information. Just think of your top 5 choices and get the FAFSA done. You may also add or remove schools from your list at a later date.

Q: My parent(s) are not helping me pay for college. Do I need parental information on the FAFSA?

Even if your parents don't contribute money toward your education, you're considered a dependent of your parents and need their information unless:

  • you'll be twenty-four by January 1 of the school year
  • you're an orphan, a ward of the court, or homeless
  • you're a veteran or currently serve on active duty
  • you're married
  • you have a legal dependent other than your spouse
  • you're a degree seeking graduate student

Types of Aid


Grants are considered to be gift aid or funds awarded to students which are repaid. Federal grant programs include -- Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant.

Minnesota grant programs include: Minnesota State Grant MN GI Bill, Postsecondary Child Care Grant, Safety Officer Survivor's Grant, and the Minnesota Dream Act.


The Office of Admission awards new entering freshmen and transfer student scholarships. A number of scholarships are awarded by individual departments on campus. Applications are available from the appropriate office and online. See scholarship requirements here.

Work Study & Regular Pay

Students can work on-campus through work study or regular student employment programs. A list of employment opportunities is available on the Financial Aid website. Students must locate their own job, are paid bi-weekly and work an average of 10 hours per week.


A loan is a type of financial aid that must be repaid. There are several different loan programs. Some require payments while the student is enrolled; others do not. The interest rates vary from 3.4% to 12%.

Last Modified: 10/5/23 10:36 AM | Website Feedback