The MCAD Financial Aid Office is available to assist all students with finding options to fund their education.

All students are encouraged to apply for financial aid and scholarships even if you do not think you are eligible. Financial aid removes financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school and fills in the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. Although most grant awards are based on financial need, some loans and scholarships are available regardless of need. The MCAD Financial Aid Office is available to assist you with finding options to fund your education.

Be sure to review all 7 steps outlined below. Jump to step:

  1. Submit the FAFSA
  2. Verification Process
  3. Financial Aid Award Notification
  4. Review Costs and Financial Aid Offered at All Schools 
  5. Accept Financial Aid Award
  6. Other Financing Options
  7. Pay Remaining Semester Balance


Step 1: Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This is the first step to establishing eligibility for all federal and state student aid programs as well as MCAD need-based aid. Use the appropriate sign-on password you have received from the Department of Education. Complete your FAFSA.

The FAFSA can be filed anytime after October 1 for the following school year. Be sure to select the correct academic year and review priority deadlines. MCAD’s school code number is 002365.

Financial Aid Priority Deadlines
Fall SemesterNew Undergrad Early Action: December 1*
All Others: March 1
Spring SemesterNew Undergrad Early Action: October 1
All Others: November 1
*Financial aid award letters for new undergrad fall students who are admitted and have completed the FAFSA application process by December 1 will start to receive award notification information on December 15.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and some aid is limited. The sooner you complete the FAFSA, the better your chances are of receiving all the aid you are entitled to receive.
  • You will need an FSA ID (username and password) to electronically sign your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, your parent will also need to sign using a separate FSA ID. Full instructions and help are available Federal Student Aid.
  • Using your FSA ID, you can return to the site later to check on the status of your application, review results of your processed FAFSA, and submit corrections.
  • Use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA to load tax information directly from the IRS to the FAFSA.
  • Review FAFSA Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid for more information.

Helpful Videos

Step 2: Verification Process

Verification uses documentation to confirm that the information provided on the FAFSA is correct. For any student selected for verification, the federal government requires colleges and universities to verify, or confirm, the data reported by students and their parent(s) on the FAFSA. Not all applications are selected. In this process, MCAD will be comparing information from copies of the student (and parent's) Federal tax return transcripts, W-2 forms and/or other financial documents as well as educational records (if necessary).


Once you are admitted and MCAD has received the results of your FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office will email you if supporting documents are needed to complete your aid application. Information on what is needed and links to download forms can be found at, your online financial aid portal. The username and password for this site are the same as for your MCAD Gmail account.

All forms and documents need to be submitted to the MCAD Financial Aid Office. This can be done by email, fax, or mail.

MCAD Financial Aid Office
2501 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Fax: 612-874-3733

Due Dates for Submitting Verification Documents
New Students: Fall SemesterMarch 1
New Students: Spring SemesterNovember 1
Returning StudentsApril 1


Step 3: Financial Aid Award Notification

Once your FAFSA results have been reviewed by your financial aid counselor, a financial aid award will be calculated. The award letter will be emailed to you and your parent using the email addresses you included on your FAFSA. The award letter will include information about the aid you qualify for, anticipated costs for the upcoming year, and other financing options that may be available to you. 

Some forms of aid, like loan programs, may require additional paperwork or web-based activity. Any missing information or documents will always be listed at under Documents.

Step 4: Review Costs and Financial Aid Offered at All Schools

New Student Cost-Aid Comparison Worksheet

Your financial aid package may vary from school to school, because it is created based on the cost of attending that particular school. Do not assume that just because one school’s tuition costs less or one school is offering a higher scholarship that it is the best value for the money.

A good way to measure the value of the financial aid is to compare all the costs and all the scholarships and grants being offered. Use the Comparing Costs and Financial Aid worksheet to help you with this process.

Step 5: Accept Financial Aid Award

Once you have reviewed your financial aid award and understand what is being offered, you will need to accept your financial aid award. You always have the option to decline a loan or work-study award or to accept a reduced amount on these forms of aid. To complete the accept process go to and select the “Accept/Decline Awards” option under the Menu.

Due Dates for Accepting Financial Aid
Fall SemesterJuly 1
Spring SemesterNovember 15


Step 6: Other Financing Options

Monthly Payment Plan

MCAD offers the option to set up a monthly payment plan each semester. This plan allows families to allocate the amount they wish to pay over the semester in even monthly payments. This is an interest-free option to pay the balance not covered by financial aid. The payment plan is administered by MCAD’s Business Office. Information about the plan is included with the semester tuition billing or you can contact the office directly at or 612.874.3654.

Due Dates for Setting Up Monthly Payment Plan
Fall SemesterAugust 1
Spring SemesterJanuary 4


Educational Loan Options

  1. Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans: for parents of dependent students only
  2. Federal Grad PLUS Loan: for students in MCAD MA or MFA programs
  3. Student and Parent Alternative Loans: for all students

Students must complete the FAFSA to be considered for all federal loan programs and some alternative loan options. Get explanations of the different loan options.

Due Dates for Completing Loan Applications
Fall SemesterJuly 1
Spring SemesterNovember 15

Loan applications can take up to four weeks for lending institutions to process, so these are the recommended dates to start the application process for each semester. It is best to calculate the amount that will be needed for the academic year so you only need to complete the application process once each year. The loan amount will be divided between each semester. Your financial aid counselor can assist you with any questions.

Step 7: Pay Remaining Semester Balance

Balances on the semester tuition bill that will not be paid by financial aid need to be paid by the following due dates.

Due Dates for Balances Not Covered by Financial Aid
Fall SemesterAugust 1
Spring SemesterJanuary 4

The Business Office prepares semester tuition bills and will alert you when they are ready to view. They can also assist with any questions that relate to the tuition bill or semester costs. View your student account and pay your deposit(s).

Your financial aid will show on the tuition bill once the aid is accepted and all additional requirements are completed.  You can review the status of your financial aid award by going to Please keep in mind that any additional loans or the monthly payment plan need to be approved and listed on the tuition bill by the above listed due dates. All outstanding balances must be paid by the payment due dates in order to start attending classes each semester.