Types of Financial Aid


All grants and scholarships, regardless of the source, are considered types of gift aid. Gift aid does not have to be repaid when you graduate nor are you required to work a certain amount of hours to receive gift aid. Examples are Federal Pell and Federal SEOG Grants, Minnesota State Grant, BSU scholarships and athletic grants, or any scholarship from a private source.


Student loan and employment programs, regardless of the source, are all considered types of self-help. Self-help programs must either be repaid after you graduate or you must work a certain amount of hours while enrolled in order to receive the funds. Examples are Federal Direct Loans, private or state student loans, and Federal or State Work Study programs.


Grants are considered gift aid that you do not have to repay and are often based on financial need. After you complete the FAFSA and are admitted to BSU, you will be considered for an array of federal, state and university grants.

Explore grants.


Student loans, unlike grants and scholarships, are a type of financial assistance that must be repaid with interest so please research your options carefully and borrow conservatively. Federal loans typically offer lower interest rates and better benefits than private loans. You are strongly encouraged to maximize your federal loan eligibility prior to considering any other loan options.

Explore Loan Options.


Bemidji State University understands the rising cost of higher education and is committed to offering a variety of scholarship opportunities to as many students as possible. Every year Bemidji State University provides academic, talent and leadership awards totaling nearly $2,400,000.  Many opportunities exist for BSU students, with over 37% of all new entering students receiving scholarships.

Explore scholarships for new, full-time students.

BSU scholarships for returning and upper-class students are primarily awarded by the individual academic departments. Check with the faculty members in your major for the application process for scholarships administered through your BSU academic department. Typically, the academic departmental scholarship application process takes place early in the Spring semester for awards to be received the following academic year.

Private Scholarships

Many private organizations in your home town offer scholarships to help with the costs of attending colleges and universities.  You may wish to contact your high school counselor or the public library for information on local scholarships.  A reputable scholarship search tool should not charge a fee, so beware of scholarship scams that guarantee results for a fee.  Anticipated private scholarship funds should be reported to the BSU Financial Aid Office.

Here are some free tools for searching for private scholarships:

Work-Study & Student Employment

BSU employs over 1,400 students over the course of a year and offers a variety of employment opportunities both on and off-campus. Our student payroll totals over $2.3 million annually with approximately $800,000 falling under the need-based federal or state work-study programs.

These jobs offer the ability to develop relevant skills, provide a reliable source of income, and have the flexibility to accommodate the student’s class and extra-curricular schedules.

You need to complete the FAFSA as earliest as possible and answer YES to the work-study question on the FAFSA to be considered for the program.  If you are awarded work-study, you will need to accept your award in e-Services. Print the Work-Study Authorization Contract and take the form with you when applying for a work-study position.

Your work-study earnings will be processed bi-weekly on the student payroll system. You can sign up for direct deposit in e-Services. Earnings will not be credited to your student bill, unlike other aid programs.

For more information about employment on campus and to find a job, see Student Employment.