Gustavus First Year Free Tuition Program

How the Program Works

We’ll cover $55,445 every year with “gift aid”—money you don’t pay back—through a combination of scholarships and grants from the College and the government. While we anticipate a tuition increase each year of 3.5% (based on historical averages); the exact increase is subject to change.

You’ll pay any tuition increases after your first year, plus housing, meals, and fees each year.

But wait! To help cover housing, food, fees and extra tuition, you could also get additional grants, student employment, or federal loans depending on your family’s unique financial circumstances.

Tuition Support for Four Years

The First Year Free Tuition program will continue to help you during your sophomore, junior, and senior years, as long as you continue to be eligible. Over four years, you can get over $220,000 in scholarships and grants towards your education.

Illustration showing the significant impact of $220,000 has on tuition over four years.

Why Gustavus?

  • Get personalized attention. Our discussion-based classes and one on one advising cater to your interests.
  • Learn in top notch facilities with exceptional faculty. Our newly renovated buildings provide innovative, modern learning spaces, and our dedicated faculty that have been ranked among the best in the country.
  • Live on campus. You’ll get to experience residential life where your best friends are right next door!
  • Graduate in just four years. As part of the Gustie Guarantee, you’ll have your degree in four years or Gustavus will cover your ninth semester tuition.
  • Do it all. Here, you don’t have to choose to pursue just one passion. Gusties can do it all. From majors to sports to music to service, the opportunities are endless, and your choice.
Student wearing white Gustavus sweater sitting and smiling into the camera.



Who is eligible? 

To be eligible for the First Year Free Tuition program at Gustavus, you must meet all of the following criteria: 

  1. Be admitted to Gustavus Adolphus College to start fall 2024
  2. Be a first time, full time student 
  3. Be a Minnesota resident 
  4. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  5. Have a family adjusted gross income as reported on the FAFSA or Minnesota Dream Act Application below $80,000

How do I qualify? 

First, apply for admission to Gustavus Adolphus College using the Common App or the Gustavus Select Application. Once your file is complete, you will receive an admission decision within two weeks. Admitted students should then file the FAFSA. Be sure to list Gustavus as one of the schools you would like to receive your financial information.

Note: This year, due to the simplification of the FAFSA by the Department of Education, the FAFSA will open in December 2023. 

How do I find out if I qualify for the First Year Free Tuition program?

If you are admitted and we receive your financial information via the FAFSA, we will create a full financial aid award for you. This award will be released within your Applicant Portal and mailed to your home address. Your financial aid award will list all forms of funding for which you are qualified – scholarships, grants, loans, student employment – and will indicate if your first-year tuition will be covered through multiple funding sources. Financial aid awards will begin to be released in January 2024. 

Please note: for eligible students, first year tuition will be covered by Gustavus through merit-based scholarships and grants, also known as gift aid. Merit-based scholarships (Gold Scholarship, Dean’s Scholarship, President’s Scholarship) are not awarded in addition to the First Year Free Tuition program.

What happens after the first year? 

If you continue to meet the criteria for the program listed above, you will be responsible for the tuition increase, typically 3.5%, each year. 

For eligible students, starting Fall 2024, your estimated tuition cost is:

  • Year 1 Tuition = $0 
  • Year 2 Tuition = $1,940
  • Year 3 Tuition = $3,949
  • Year 4 Tuition = $6,029 

Total Tuition Cost over 4 years = $11,918