The Big 10 Academic Alliance (BTAA) FreeApp Program is designed to increase access to graduate education for students who possess qualities and experiences that enhance the diversity of the intellectual, cultural, and social environments at Big Ten Academic Alliance universities. To qualify, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements below and complete the Application Fee Waiver Request Form.


Applicants requesting a FreeApp from the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School Diversity Office (GSDO) must meet the following minimum criteria to receive consideration:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2 (4.0 scale)
  • Have an interest in pursuing an academic and/or research career
  • Must not be a current graduate student or have already received a post bachelor's degree (we want to give everyone an opportunity) 
  • Have participated in one of the following programs:    
    • McNair Scholars Program
    • MARC Program
    • IMSD Research Training Program
    • GEM Fellowship
    • National Name Exchange
    • Goldwater Scholarship & Excellence in Education Foundation
    • HHMI Programs
    • Gates Millennium Scholars Program
    • MBRS/RISE Undergraduate Scholars Program
    • LSAMP Program
    • Meyerhoff Scholars Program
    • North Star STEM Alliance
    • COR
    • Cientifico Latino Graduate Student Mentorship Initiative (GSMI)
  • Have applied for admission to a Ph.D. or master's degree program administered by the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. (The following professional programs are not administered by the University of Minnesota Graduate School: College of Veterinary Medicine-DVM, Business Administration-MBA, Medical School-MD, Law School-JD, College of Pharmacy-PharmD, and the School of Public Health-MPH).

Application Fee Waiver for Fall 2024 Admission

  • The deadline for applicants to submit an Application Fee Waiver Request Form is December 1, 2023, at 12:00 pm CST. The request form will remain open until the deadline or until fund capacity is reached, whichever occurs first.
  • Applicants must start their graduate program admissions application by December 8, 2023, at 12:00 pm CST. Note: We are unable to apply a fee waiver if you have not started your admissions application by this date. Please follow your program’s guidelines for application completion deadlines. 
  • Admissions applications must be completed by January 1, 2024, at 12:00 pm CST or by the graduate program deadline, whichever date comes first.
  • Only one fee waiver is offered per person


Questions about the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) FreeApp Program can be directed to

View GSDO Statement of Nondiscrimination