Stories

Read stories from students and families who have benefited from the State Grant program. Use the search box above to find stories about specific people or institutions.
 
Use our Submit a story form to share your story.

“I am a first-generation college student so it's been difficult because there was no college fund. Without the State Grant, I would not have had the finances to attend a school like Concordia University — it has helped me financially to reach my goal.

Taherah Shamsul-Bahri
Hometown:
Minneapolis
School:
Concordia University, St. Paul
Class of
2014
Major:
Psychology
Minor:
Family Studies
Extra-curriculars:
Student Alumni Council, United Minds of Joint Action, volunteer at the Minnesota Office of Higher Ed, internship at St. Paul Public Schools, assistant for social psychology professor

I chose St. Scholastica because I wanted to attend a really great school; the State Grant makes it possible for me to go here. I am not eligible to take student loans and I work 60 hours a week to pay for school.”

Brandon Torres
Hometown:
Howard Lake
School:
College of St. Scholastica
Class of
2014
Major:
Psychology
Minor:
Biology
Extra-curriculars:
Student body vice president, resident assistant at student apartment, blogger for marketing department, manager at student wellness center, member of Queer Straight Alliance

The biggest thing the Minnesota State Grant did was really widen my range of possibility. Cost was a huge factor in picking a school but I did not want to miss out on quality. My choices would have been significantly reduced."

Eura Chang
Hometown:
Rochester
School:
Macalester College
Class of
2015
Major:
Political Science and Educational Studies
Minor:
French and Francophone Studies
Extra-curriculars:
Bonner Community Scholar, Bonner Congress Representative, work study at the Minnesota Literacy Council, chapter co-leader of Students for Education Reform, Habitat for Humanity leadership team, African Music Ensemble

“I always imagined myself going to a private liberal arts college — small class sizes are really important to me —  but without the State Grants I could not have attended Concordia College. I hope to be a teacher and will not be making a large amount of money. I feel very fortunate to be able to attend a great school like Concordia College and I am grateful to my State Grant that made it a reality for me."

Matthew Dymoke
Hometown:
Bloomington
School:
Concordia College, Moorhead
Class of
2014
Major:
Social Studies Education
Minor:
Communication Studies
Extra-curriculars:
Student government vice president, resident assistant, member of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, Cobber Ambassador, Phonathon manager, front desk worker at a residence hall, Homecoming chair

“I am very grateful for the State Grant. Both my brothers attend community college and I am extremely fortunate to have the State Grant to attend private college at Saint Mary’s. It has made it much more affordable for my family.”

Sara Schoenthaler
Hometown:
White Bear Lake
School:
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Class of
2015
Major:
Marketing and Management
Minor:
Public Relations
Extra-curriculars:
Guard for the women’s basketball team, works for the Athletic Department, supervises intramurals

“I wanted to go to a good college without putting a huge burden on my family, since my sister will also be in college soon. Without the State Grant, I would be more worried that we couldn’t keep up with payments. That added burden would mean I wouldn’t be able to focus as much on my studies.

Carlos Rivera
Hometown:
St. Paul
School:
St. Olaf College
Class of
2015
Major:
Chemistry and Math
Extra-curriculars:
Works as an office assistant in the TRiO office, belongs to the Sci-Fi Club and the Problem Solving Club.

"Coming from a very small town limited the types of people I was exposed to, and I never seemed to find friends with whom I could connect. Receiving need-based financial aid has allowed me to attend a college that has exposed me to a variety of individuals, and I have had the opportunity to develop a community of friends I know I will retain for the rest of my life. Without the aid I received from the state, I would never have grown to be the person I am today, as I would never have met the friends I know now."

Sonja Smerud
Hometown:
Finland
School:
St. Olaf College
Class of
2014
Major:
Biology, Political Science
Minor:
Environmental Studies
Extra-curriculars:
Environmental Student Organizations, Model United Nations, Student Government

"I am a nontraditional student — an adult nursing student who is also a mom to three kids. I am thankful for this grant that allows me to attend the school that works best for me, while also working fewer hours so that I can focus on my nursing studies."

Bekki Hince
Hometown:
Zimmerman
School:
Bethel University
Class of
2015
Major:
Nursing
Extra-curriculars:
Leadership Team for Student Mentoring

"Being able to receive a State Grant has eased the financial burden. It has allowed me to attend a college that’s a good fit for my academic and other interests.”

Claire Willeck
Hometown:
Eden Prairie
School:
Carleton College
Class of
2015
Major:
Economics and International Relations
Extra-curriculars:
Plays varsity volleyball and softball, member of Student Athlete Advisory Committee, volunteer at a middle school, work-study job in Campus Services office.

With me and two of my siblings in college, getting the State Grant is a great help. I don’t think I’d have been able to come to Gustavus without it.”

Amy Vang
Hometown:
Brooklyn Park
School:
Gustavus Adolphus College
Class of
2015
Major:
Art Studio
Extra-curriculars:
Has a work-study position in the marketing and communications office at Gustavus; is a member of Hmong American Cultural Outreach.

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