Education has been and is a pathway out of poverty, yet postsecondary education and skills training are often out of reach for the poor.
And because of how our society is set up, the poorest among us tend to be women and people of color — disproportionately single mothers.
It is particularly onerous for those from low-income backgrounds who live on a budget to get into college.
With today’s higher college costs, federal student aid is the much needed financial lifeline. For some, it’s the only reason they can complete a degree rather than dropping out of school.
While the federal government is the largest source of aid, primarily in the form of the Pell Grant, state governments often fund grants and scholarships for residents attending college in their state.
Some states — California, Wyoming and New Jersey — do provide more aid to low-income college students, but most states give far less. Take Michigan, where the average state aid per Pell recipient is only $363.1
Whether you are a first time student or a single mother returning to college after a break, listed below is an overview of what grants for college may be available to you in each state.
Alabama has several mechanisms in place to make college more affordable for students and their parents. Students with proof of financial need will most likely get some form of financial aid, most of which is in the form of scholarships and grants.
Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP)
The ASAP is one of the Alabama Student Aid Programs that awards eligible Alabama state residents to study at an independent college or university in Alabama.
Applicants must meet general eligibility requirements and demonstrate substantial financial need. Up to $5000 per academic year with maximum amount available only when sufficient funds are available.
Alabama Student Grant Program
Alabama Student Grant Program is available only to students enrolled in one of the dozen or so “independent” colleges in Alabama. However, this is a non-need based program.
Grant amounts vary from year-to-year based on the availability of funds, but cannot exceed $1,200 per academic year. It is currently available only in the following 13 institutions:
- Amridge University
- Birmingham Southern College
- Concordia College
- Faulkner University
- Huntingdon College
- Judson College
- Oakwood University
- Samford University
- Spring Hill College
- Stillman College
- U.S. Sports Academy
- University of Mobile
- Miles College
Alaska offers both a need-based grant program and a merit-based scholarship program for eligible Alaska students attending participating postsecondary educational institutions in Alaska.
If you’re a student looking to attend a school in your home state of Alaska, you may be eligible for some free college dollars, courtesy of Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education.
Alaska Education Grant (AEG) provides need-based financial assistance to eligible Alaska students attending qualifying postsecondary institutions in Alaska.
Grant awards typically range from $500 to $4,000 per academic year for students who have qualifying unmet financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
The availability of funds is limited, so eligible students with the highest financial need will be awarded in order of need until funds are exhausted.
The Alaska Performance Scholarship provides an opportunity for Alaska high school students to earn a scholarship to help cover the cost of postsecondary education in Alaska. Alaska’s hardest-working students can earn up to $4,755 a year.
To qualify for APS, students must take a specific, rigorous high school curriculum, earn a minimum 2.5 GPA, and do well on a college or career-readiness exam.
The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE) is responsible for administering state financial aid. However, there isn’t much aid to go around in the Grand Canyon State, so it’s very important to file a FAFSA. This will ensure you’re considered for federal aid.
Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (AzLEAP)
The AzLEAP grant provides need-based awards up to $2,500 per academic year to Arizona resident students who meet the eligibility criteria. The average amount awarded is closer to $1,000.
Applicants must have substantial financial need — be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
To make college cheaper for Arkansans, the state of Arkansas funds a variety of state financial aid programs. You can explore these programs on the College for You, run by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE).
Competition for state aid is high, due to the limited funds and high college enrollment rates, so it’s always in your best interest to apply for one as early as possible.
GO! Opportunities Grant
GO! Grant provides $1000 grants to full-time and $500 grants to part-time students based on financial need. Students must be an Arkansas resident for at least 12 months prior to applying for the grant.
Eligibility is based on the family’s adjusted gross income as reported on the FAFSA so early filing is encouraged. For more information, contact the ADHE financial aid division at 1-800-54STUDY or 501-371-2050.
Thanks to the availability of need-based grants, college education is now possible and more affordable. Cal Grants are the biggest and best-known category of California’s state grants for students.
All California students with “exceptional” financial need are guaranteed to receive Cal Grants. Some only cover tuition; some will help you pay for room & board and expenses. And you don’t have to pay it back!
Cal Grant is a need-based grant that have helped many low-income Californians fund their college education. It’s a free money for college you don’t have to pay back.
There are three kinds of Cal Grants — A, B and C — but you don’t have to figure out which one to apply for as eligibility will be based on your FAFSA and choice of school.
With a Cal Grant A, you can get up to $12,570 a year to pay for college expenses at any qualifying California college or university in California. Cal Grant B pays up up to $1,672 for educational-related books and living expenses.
Cal Grant C awards are intended for students who are enrolled in a vocational, occupational or technical program at a Cal Grant eligible school. Up to $2,462 can be used for tuition and fees, and include an additional amount for book and supplies.
To apply for a Cal Grant, you must complete and submit two forms: the FAFSA and the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form no later than March 2 each year.
The colorful Colorado has a lot to offer students, with breathtaking scenery and world-class skiing skiing on snow-covered mountains, as well as other outdoor and winter sports, Colorada’s needy students may also earn free money for college.
Colorado funds two state need-based financial aid grant programs, the Colorado Student Grant Program, which consists of Colorado College Responsibility Grant and the Colorado Graduate Grant, for Colorado residents.
Colorado College Responsibility Grant
Colorado College Responsibility Grant (CCRG) is one of two need-based financial aid grant programs administered by the Colorado General Assembly for the State of Colorado. Only full-time undergraduates are eligible for this program.
The award amounts depend on the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC as determined by FAFSA. In other words, the maximum award goes to students with the least ability to pay — up to $5,000.
Funding is limited and is awarded on a first-come first-served basis to eligible students with a complete financial aid file, so students must complete and turn in their FAFSA by the deadline for consideration.
Colorado Graduate Grant
The Colorado Graduate Grant is bestowed by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to graduate/professional students who are enrolled in an approved critical career degree program.
Students must meet the same eligibility requirements for the CCRG program above, except that they should be enrolled in an approved graduate program at an accredited institution.
College Opportunity Fund (COF)
The College Opportunity Trust Fund (COF) provides a stipend to eligible undergraduate students attending a Colorado participating public institution or private school.
The stipend pays a portion of your total resident tuition — capped at 145 credit hours. For the 2018-2019 school year, the tuition stipend is $85 per credit hour at participating public institutions or $43 per credit hour at participating private schools.
For example, if you take 15 credit hours per semester, you will receive a stipend in the amount of $2,550 for the year (30 credit hours) or $1,290 for 30 credit hours respectively.
All eligible students must complete the COF application and authorize use of funds to receive the stipend. For additional information, call 720-264-8550.
College isn’t cheap, so it’s smart to try to get as much financial aid as you can. Connecticut also runs its own state financial aid programs to help pay students afford college education, much of them based on need.
These programs include the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship for public and private college students, as well as Connecticut State University Grants for those entering the state college system.
The new Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program (formerly the Governor’s Scholarship) establishes a single, consolidated aid program for residents who are undergraduates at in-state public and private institutions of higher education in Connecticut.
This need-based scholarship program replaces the state’s existing student aid programs —
- Connecticut Aid to Public College Students (CAPCS)
- Connecticut Independent College Student Grant (CICSG)
- Capitol Scholarship
- Connecticut Aid to Charter Oak
Students who demonstrate financial need as determined by FAFSA’s expected family contribution (EFC) will be awarded up to $4,500 per academic year.
There is also a small merit component which requires a separate application (available through the high school guidance office), SAT scores of 1800 and a rank in the top 20% of the class.
The Delaware Higher Education Office (DHEO) is in charge of keeping college in Delaware as accessible and affordable as possible. It does this by offering state aid in the form of grants, scholarships as well as loan repayment programs.
Despite the name, the Scholarship Incentive Program is a grant. ScIP is a need based grant of $1,000 awarded to Delaware students who demonstrate substantial financial need, as determined by FAFSA.
Students who would like to be considered for a ScIP must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before April 15th. Since it is a non-renewable grant, students must submit their FAFSA every year for consideration.
District of Columbia
Everything is more expensive in Washington, D.C., college is no difference. To help make college more accessible, the District provides financial aid in the form of the DC Tuition Assistance Grant and Mayor’s Scholarship to residents with financial need.
DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG)
DC TAG is a need-based grant that allows college-bound D.C. residents to attend any public institution in the country as if they are a resident of the school’s state.
DC TAG provides up to $10,000 toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities anywhere the country.
To be considered for DC TAG, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the DC OneApp Online Application. Deadline is May 31 each year.
The Sunshine State has scholarships for high achievers, need-based grants for Florida residents as well as aid for specific minority groups. Florida’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) does have a comprehensive list of state-funded scholarship and grant programs.
OSFA also administers the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) — like the FAFSA — where students may apply for state-funded scholarships and grants.
This need-based grant provides approximately $3,000 per academic year, subject to state budget appropriations. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply.
It is recommended that the application be completed prior to May 15th, as these funds are limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant
ABLE grants provide undergraduate students with up to $1,500 in tuition assistance per year when they attend an eligible private college or university in Florida.
Students are eligible to receive the award for a maximum of 9 semesters or 14 quarters and must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and a minimum of 12 credit hours per term (or equivalent) for renewal.
College can be “peachy” for students living in Georgia. Thanks to generous state financial aid packages, going to college today is now easier than ever.
GAcollege411, run by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), has a rundown of state scholarships, grants and loan programs — including the all-important HOPE Program.
Georgia’s HOPE Grant is available to all students from Georgia who have demonstrated academic achievement and are working towards a Certificate or Diploma at Georgia’s public postsecondary institutions.2
The amount awarded to each student may vary depending on the institution and the no. of credit hours in which a student is enrolled — but is capped at 63 semester or 95 quarter hours.3
In order to consider for HOPE Grant, you can either complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) OR complete the GSFAPPS electronic application.
Another grant within HOPE called HOPE GED Grant is available to students who earned a General Education Development (GED) diploma. Students receiving GED Grant may also qualify for HOPE Grant.
Recipients receive a one-time award of $500 toward that can be used towards tuition, books, or other educational costs at an eligible public technical college or public or private college or university.
Living in paradise could help students say “Aloha” to some free dollars for college. The state of Hawaii is loaded with scholarship opportunities, many of them earmarked for Native Hawaiians.
Each of the state’s 10 public community colleges and universities administers its own scholarships and also participates in University of Hawaii statewide scholarships.
The Second Century Scholarship is a need-based grant provided to Native Hawaiian students pursuing both graduate and undergraduate credit work in any field of study on all 10 campuses of the University of Hawai’i System.
The amount awarded will depend on the student’s financial need as determined by FAFSA and fund availability. Since it’s need-based, you’ll have to submit the FAFSA for consideration.
GEAR UP Hawai‘i
GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Education that serves low-income middle and high school students in public schools across 44 states.
GEAR UP Hawaii, the statewide grant under Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, serves over 20,000 public school students in grades 7 to 12 through the first year in college across the State of Hawaii each year.
Each year GEAR UP awards up to $85,000 to eligible students statewide. Priority awards are given to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch status.
For more information about GEAR UP, please contact
Business and Community Outreach Specialist
The Gem State does not have any state-specific grant programs, instead relying on federal initiatives, such as the Pell Grant or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
State financial aid is mainly merit-based, with the most common award being the Opportunity Scholarship, which goes to Idaho’s high-achieving students.
Idaho Opportunity Scholarship
The Idaho Legislature established the Opportunity Scholarship to assist low-income, talented students who are “at-risk” of failing to obtain a college education.
The scholarship provides up to $3,500 a year for a maximum of four (4) years. Students can use the Opportunity Scholarship at any public Idaho institution and BYU-Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University, and College of Idaho.
Applicants for the opportunity scholarship are selected on the basis of demonstrated financial need as determined by FAFSA and their cumulative GPA.
For additional information, contact
Scholarships Program Manager
College is expensive. While state-funded grants — like the well-known Monetary Award Program (MAP) — won’t make college cheap, they help make school a little more affordable.
For all you need to know, visit the website for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state’s centralized source for Illinois student financial aid.
The Illinois MAP Grant is available from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need, based on the information provided on the FAFSA.
Unlike the Federal Pell Grant, there is only a limited amount of MAP funds available so students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as early as possible after October 1.
Indiana has two primary grant programs: the Frank O’Bannon Grant, Indiana’s primary need-based financial aid program, and the Adult Student Grant, Indiana’s campaign to “help the 750,000+ Hoosier adults with some college but no degree finish what they started.”
Frank O’Bannon Grant Program
Frank O’Bannon Grant (formerly the Indiana Higher Education Grant) Program, designed to provide access for needy Indiana students to attend eligible postsecondary institutions. The grant is given on a “need-based” basis — up to a maximum of $9,000.
To qualify, you must submit a valid FAFSA by April 15 of the academic year preceding the academic year you plan to enroll. Students receiving the Frank O’Bannon Grant are subject to credit completion requirements.
As part of the You Can. Go Back. campaign, adults with college credits but without a college degree can receive a $1,000 grant to continue their education.
Submit the FAFSA and the Adult Student Grant Application as soon after October 1st as possible, as the awards are given on a first-come, first-served basis.
You don’t have to have a “hawk” eye to find free grants for college but you certainly do have to be in Hawkeye State in order to qualify for one.
To be eligible for most state aid, you’ll need to file your FAFSA. For certain state-funded programs, you may also have to complete the Iowa Financial Aid Application as well.
Iowa Tuition Grant is available to assist Iowa residents enrolled at one of Iowa’s eligible private colleges and universities. Priority is given to students with the greatest financial need.
The maximum grant is $5,650 per year for up to four years of full-time, undergraduate study. Part-time students may be eligible for adjusted amounts.
You won’t have to go “over the rainbow” to find money for college. The state makes sure Kansas residents can get a college degree by offering state financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.
Your first stopping point for financial aid should be the Kansas Board of Regents where you can apply online for different scholarships and other awards, including those listed below.
Kansas Comprehensive Grant
Funded by the state of Kansas, this grant is available to financially needy Kansas residents who are enrolled full-time at 18 private colleges and universities in Kansas, the six state universities, and Washburn University.
Award amounts range from $200 – $3,500 at the private institutions and $100 – $1,500 at the public institutions. To be considered, you must complete and submit the FAFSA, listing one or more eligible colleges in the FAFSA.
Kansas Career Work-Study (KCWS)
The Kansas Career Work Study program is a state-funded program intended to provide employers with incentives to hire students to work in career-related positions.
It is available to Kansas residents, enrolled at least half-time at the six state universities and Washburn University — at least 6 credit hours during the Fall and Spring.
You must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for this program. If awarded, you will be advised of the maximum amount you can earn.
If you have an eye for college in the Bluegrass State, your #1 pit stop for financial aid should be the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA), which administers state grants and scholarships.
Every year, KHEAA also publishes a guide called “Affording Higher Education”. It includes a comprehensive list of private scholarships listed by county as well as statewide scholarships.
The College Access Program (CAP) Grant is available for Kentucky’s financially needy students 1 who are enrolled at least half-time at an approved college or university in Kentucky. Eligible students may receive up to $2000 per year.
To be eligible for CAP, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so early filing is encouraged.
Kentucky Tuition Grant (KTG) provides need-based aid to help Kentucky residents attend eligible private colleges within the state. Up to $3,000 is awarded to students with financial need as determined by FAFSA.
Funds are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to file your FAFSA as soon after October 1 as possible for priority consideration.
The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) is the home of Louisiana college financial aid, with the state’s GO Grant being the best bet for funds for graduating high school seniors with modest income.
The Louisiana GO Grant is a need-based grant program by the State of Louisiana to assist Pell-eligible students who need additional aid to afford the cost of attending college.
Awards may vary with each academic year. The minimum award amount that eligible student may receive is $300 with the maximum award not exceeding $3,000 per academic year.
As funding is limited, students who completed the financial aid process earliest are given priority consideration. Proof of residency is a must. However, eligibility is subject to annual review.
Maine has a real lack of state-sponsored financial aid, with the State of Maine Grant being Maine’s only grant program for students with financial need, and awards max out at $1,500, less than 20 percent of the average cost of tuition.
The State of Maine Grant Program is a need-based program that provides grants to Maine undergraduate students who complete the FAFSA by the May 1 dateline.
Because this is a need-based grant, your expected family contribution (EFC) must not exceed the maximum EFC set in any given year. The maximum EFC for the 2018–2019 academic year is 4,800.
The award amount is up to $1,500 per year for a full-time student. If you are enrolled less than full-time, you may be eligible for a pro-rated amount. However, funds are limited so you are encouraged to apply early.
Maryland may be an expensive state for college but there is a fair amount of state financial aid for low-income students in the Free State — including the super-generous Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant.
Funded by the state of Maryland, the Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant offers eligible Maryland students financial aid that may cover up to $19,000 of full-time college tuition at any public or private college or university in Maryland.
To be considered for a Guaranteed Access Grant, you must complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than April 1 or by March 1 for priority consideration.
Like the GA Grant, this is a need-based award but less generous than the GA — the minimum annual award amount is $400 and the maximum award is $3,000. As fund is limited, those with the lowest EFC are awarded first.
The actual amount is determined by a set formula reflecting the cost of college attendance, expected family contribution, state scholarships awarded and Pell Grant funding received.
Massachusetts is known as the Education State with a large number of state financial aid programs for students of every age. Students considering UMass, state universities and public community colleges are eligible for a great deal of support.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), in charge of administering state aid to college students, has a comprehensive list of state financial aid programs, and a quick guide to the most popular grants, waivers as well as scholarships.
The MASSGrant is the state’s flagship need-based award program for undergraduate students who reside in Massachusetts. Award amounts vary according to each applicant’s EFC & the type of institution.
To be eligible for a MASSGrant, you must submit and complete your FAFSA by May 1st and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,486 or less.
Students attending one of Massachusetts’ fifteen public community colleges may now apply for MASSGrant Plus — a new program to provide funds to some of the state’s neediest students.
Massachusetts Part-Time Grant Program
For working adults and part-time, non-traditional students, the Massachusetts Part-Time Grant Program is an alternative to MASSGrants, which carries many of the same eligibility requirements.
Awards are made to students based on exceptional financial need as determined from filing the FAFSA and availability of funds — ranging from $200 to a maximum that depends on the type of institution that the student attends.
Michigan residents are eligible for a number of state financial aid packages, including grants for low-income students and scholarships for GEAR UP participants.
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of 10 “Promise Zones” in the state of Michigan, your tuition for two years at a community college may even be free.
Promise Zones promise to provide a scholarship that, at minimum, gives all students who live in the zone and graduate from a high school located in the zone a tuition-free path to an associate degree from at least one institution.
Michigan Tuition Grant (MTG) is available to undergraduate students and is based on financial need for use at non-profit colleges and universities in Michigan.
Awards are restricted to tuition and mandatory fees — up to a maximum of $2,400 per academic year, subject to available and approved funding. MTG is limited to 10 semesters or 15 terms.
To apply for MTG, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Priority deadline is March 1.
For more information, contact the Michigan Tuition Grant program, Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG) at 1-888-4-GRANTS (1-888-447-2687) toll-free.
The Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) encourages eligible Medicaid recipients4 to complete high school by providing tuition assistance for the first two years of college and beyond.
TIP provides assistance in two phases.
- Phase 1
Cost of tuition is paid for up to 80 semester credits (or 120 term credits) leading to an associate’s degree or certificate.
- Phase 2
Students are eligible for up to $2,000 toward the costs of pursuing a bachelor’s degree — not exceeding $500 per semester or $400 per term.
TIP targets students with financial need, so you’re strongly encouraged to file a FAFSA before the federal dateline AND submit the application form before graduating from high school.
In the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, students have the chance to earn thousands of free dollars for college. For instance, the state’s Allis Grant system targets adults going back to school, who can even use it in combination with the Minnesota Child Care Grant.
The Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program provides financial assistance to students who have children 12 and under to help pay for child care while pursuing a postsecondary education.
To be eligible, you must demonstrate financial need AND are not receiving assistance under the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).
The maximum award amount is $5,200 per eligible child per academic year. The amount of the award, however, cannot exceed 40 hours of child care per week per eligible child.
Minnesota State Grant is designed to help low and middle income students pay for college. To be considered for this grant, you must be a Minnesota resident with the requisite level of financial need.
The minimum annual award is $100. Average awards range from $1800 to $2400 a year (subject to appropriations). Deadline is no later than 30 days after the start of the semester for which you are applying.
Adults who are returning to school to start or complete a degree may receive between $350 to $1,100 a year to enroll in a bachelor’s program within the Minnesota State University system.
The procedure for selecting recipients varies from campus to campus. Please contact the financial aid office at the university you attend (or plan to attend) for more information.
State financial aid in Mississippi is primarily focused on low-income students (e.g. MTAG) and high-achievers (e.g. MESG), so if you are none of the two, it pays to file a FAFSA for federal aid — even if you think you don’t qualify.
Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) runs a user-friendly website called RiseUp! Mississippi. It has detailed information on state financial aid and step-by-step instructions on how to apply for one.
MATG is available for Mississippi’s financially needy students attending state approved public and nonprofit two-year and four-year eligible colleges and universities. Priority is for Pell Grant recipients with unmet need.
MTAG awards may be up to $500 per academic year for freshmen and sophomores and $1,000 per academic year for juniors and seniors.
To apply for MTAG, you need to file your FAFSA and complete the Mississippi Office of Financial Aid Application. You’ll be required to submit a variety of supporting documents during the application process.
MESG provides tuition assistance to high-achieving Mississippi residents pursuing undergraduate studies at eligible public & non-profit colleges and universities in the state.
The maximum award amount is $2,500 per year for a maximum of 8 semesters or degree completion, whichever comes first, but awards may not exceed annual tuition and fees.
HELP is designed to provide tuition assistance to Mississippi students whose financial need, as demonstrated by federal student aid eligibility, are not met from other sources.
Applicants must be attending an eligible Mississippi institution, must have a minimum ACT score of 20 and an average gross income of $39,500 or less over the prior two years.
To apply for HELP, you need to complete both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and an online application along with the HELP Worksheet (also referred to as the Household Verification Worksheet).
Ask and you shall receive. If you live or study in the “Show Me State”, it doesn’t hurt to ask, “Show me the money!” For all the latest on state aid, check out the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE).
Most Missouri state aid packages, though not overly generous, use federal aid data to determine a student’s eligibility, so it’s very important to file your FAFSA!
Access Missouri is designed to give Missouri students with financial need the opportunity to attend schools of their preference, including public and private colleges & universities throughout Missouri.
Eligibility is based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC), with applicants with EFC of $12,000 or less eligible. The amount of the annual award varies each year based upon state appropriation to the fund.
Submit your FAFSA by April 1 to meet the final deadline to be considered for eligibility. Those who apply on or before February 1 are guaranteed an award.
College in Montana has traditionally been affordable. For students with need, state financial aid can make school that much more affordable.
Financial aid packages in Montana are mostly awarded on the basis of academic achievement, financial need, or a combination of the two. If it’s scholarships and financial aid you’re after, the place to look is the Montana University System.
Montana Grants for College
Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG)
Montana Higher Education Grant is funded by the state of Montana and is matched with Federal funds. Eligible students may be awarded up to $500 a year based on their needs and fund availability.
Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP)
Montana Tuition Assistance Program (MTAP) is the largest need-based grant program in Montana. It is awarded, based on need, to Montana resident students who have earned at least 500 times the federal hourly minimum wage.5
To apply for either (or both) of these grants, students must be accepted by the college’s admissions office and apply for financial aid by submitting a FAFSA.
Funds for MHEG and MTAP are limited, so early FAFSA filing is encouraged — advisably prior to March 1 deadline.
If it’s financial aid you’re after, Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) offers three grant programs that are designed to make college more affordable for Nebraskans.
Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG)
Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG) is the State of Nebraska’s only need-based financial aid program for postsecondary students who meet certain qualifications.
Eligibility is based on EFC and availability of funds. NOG is awarded on a first-come basis to those who have qualified for Pell Grants. The average grant awarded is $1,306.
The NOG is awarded through postsecondary institutions within the state. Students must complete and submit the FAFSA no later than March 1 for priority consideration.
Although there isn’t a lot in the way of state financial aid for Nevada residents, students from low-income families and high-achieving high school graduates have a decent chance of getting free money through one or more of the following grant programs.
Most are awarded to students based on financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and do not need to be repaid.
Nevada State Access Grant
Funded from both state and institutional sources, Nevada State Access Grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students demonstrating a high level of need based on their FAFSA application.
Award amounts are based both on a student’s EFC and number of credits taken in a term. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so it pays to apply as early as you can!
Nevada State Access Grant
Funded from both state and institutional sources, Nevada State Access Grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students with the highest level of financial need based on their FAFSA application.
Award amounts are based both on a student’s EFC and number of credits taken in a term. The maximum amount offered is $3,000 for graduate students and $2,500 for undergraduate students.
Silver State Opportunity Grant
The Silver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG) is Nevada’s first stat-supported, need-based grant awarded to low-income Nevada students attending an NSHE community college or state college.
Funds for the SSOG are limited and are awarded to the students with the most financial need first, starting with 0 EFC up to 8500 EFC, until funds are exhausted.
Nevada Regents Service Program
Regents Service Program is a state funded program that offers financially needy students the opportunity to work in community service jobs while still attending school. The state of Nevada pays for 100% of a student’s salary.
Preference is given to single parents who has never attended college and students who complete their FAFSA application by February 1 will be given priority consideration.
Attending a New Jersey college is a costly affair! But thanks to generous state grant programs — like Tuition Aid Grant, NJ students with financial need can now afford to go to college in the Garden State.
The Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) Program is one of largest and most generous financial aid programs, with nearly one in every three full-time New Jersey undergraduates receiving awards.
Part-time TAG is also available for students who are enrolled for 6-11 credits in approved county colleges. The amount of the grant varies depending on student need, cost of attendance and available funding.
To be considered for a TAG award, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed each year within established NJ deadlines and meet all other program requirements.
NJ STARS is an initiative created by the State of New Jersey that provides New Jersey’s highest achieving students with free tuition at their home county college.
Students who rank in the top 15% of their class at the end of either junior or senior year of high school may be eligible to receive an NJ STARS award.
NJ STARS students must attain with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher to meet the academic requirement for renewal or graduate with GPA of 3.50 or higher to qualify academically for the NJ STARS II program.
The state of New Mexico offers a host of merit-based scholarships along with two need-based grants. If managed properly, these funds are enough to get most students through college without significant debt.
College Affordability Grant is in place to encourage New Mexico students with financial need, who do not qualify for other state grants and scholarships, to pursue higher education at New Mexico public colleges or universities.
Maximum of $1,000 per semester depending on financial need, but can be renewed for up to eight semesters (four years). Funding is limited, so applying early is key!
Like the College Affordability Grant, this award is reserved for students with exceptional financial need. Students with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) are automatically considered for the grant.
Awards are based on the availability of funds and prorated based on a student’s enrollment. The award starts from $200 and goes up to $2,500 a year.
Colleges in the SUNY & CUNY systems offer substantial financial aid that subsidizes low-income students. Even better, New York State has a host of state-specific financial aid packages, including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
Start with the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), a great website run by New York’s Office of Higher Education and browse through a list of NY state scholarships and awards.
The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a need-based grant that helps eligible New York students pay tuition at an approved postsecondary institution in New York State (NYS).
Depending on the academic year in which you apply, an annual TAP award can be up to $5,165.8 And since TAP is a grant, it does not have to be repaid.
To be eligible for TAP, you must file a FAFSA and list a New York State school or college on the form. The TAP application deadline is June 30 of the academic year for which aid is sought.
Aid for Part-time Study (APTS)
The Aid for Part-time Study (APTS) program provides grant assistance for eligible part-time students enrolled in approved undergraduate studies in New York State. APTS is not the same as the Part-time TAP.
Awards provide up to $2,000 per year for eligible part-time undergraduate students to help pay tuition expenses but will not exceed tuition charges.
To qualify for APTS, you must meet all the TAP eligibility requirements as well as the APTS income limits. The APTS application, along with copies of the NYS Tax Returns, must be submitted.
Home to the oldest state university in the U.S., the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina offers financial assistance to low-income students who might otherwise be unable to further their education without such support.
Funded by the State of North Carolina, these grants are made available to North Carolina residents who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled (at least half-time) at North Carolina community colleges.
Eligibility is based on their estimated family contribution (EFC) as determined by FAFSA. Full-time students whose federal EFC ranges from $1501 to $8,500 will receive awards on a sliding scale, subject to fund availability.
This need-based grant is only available to eligible students attending one of the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina. Award amounts vary from $500 to $4,200.
File your FAFSA and list at least one constituent institution of The University of North Carolina. Consideration for the grant is automatic once the FAFSA is filed.
With state financial aid packages and several privately-funded scholarships available, earning a college degree in North Dakota can be downright cheap compared to other states.
State Student Incentive Grant Program
Also known as the State Grant Program, this program awards up to $1,100 per semester or $733 per quarter to first-time undergraduate students who attend North Dakota’s public, private and tribal colleges.
Application is via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Deadline for priority consideration is April 15th, but applications are accepted until all funds are committed.
Ohio doesn’t have a ton of state scholarships and grants, but it’s always worthwhile applying. You may find you’re eligible for packages — the like of Forever Buckeyes, Choose Ohio First, that you never knew existed.
College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)
Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program provides grant money to Ohio students who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need with an expected family contribution (EFC) of $2,190 or less.
Award amounts ranges from $252 to $3,000 annually based on student’s enrollment status and the type of institution the student is attending. The application deadline is October 1 each year.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) is in charge of administering state financial aid, including multiple merit scholarships and two need-based grants, one each for private colleges and public ones.
These include Oklahoma’s Promise — a full scholarship program that targets 8th through 10th graders from low-income families in the “Sooner State”. The “sooner” you apply, the better.
Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grants (OTAG)
OTAG is a grant offered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) to residents of Oklahoma who attend Oklahoma’s public and private colleges and universities.
The current maximum annual award is $1,000 for students attending public colleges, universities or career technology centers, and $1,300 for students attending eligible private colleges or universities.
Application is made through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available through the financial aid office at the college you are planning to attend, or at FAFSA.gov.
Oklahoma PROMISE allows students in the 8th through 10th grades9 whose parents earning less than $55,000 in income apply for free college tuition. Some 76,000 Oklahomans have received the scholarship over the years.10
The award amount is determined annually by the Oklahoma State Regents — the amount of which depends upon the type of institution attended and the number of hours in which the student enrolls.11
Application for Oklahoma PROMISE is available online. For more information, call the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s information hotline at 800-858-1840.
If it’s scholarships and financial aid you’re after, you’ve got plenty of options in the Beaver State. Many of the major public players — Oregon State University, University of Oregon and Western Oregon University — offer substantial aid packages.
To increase your chances of being considered for state aid, file your FAFSA and any other necessary application forms as early as possible.
Oregon Opportunity Grant
Oregon Opportunity Grant is Oregon’s largest state-funded need-based grant program. The OOG is available to financially needy undergraduate students who are enrolled at least half-time at an Oregon state college or university.
The current EFC limit for eligible students is $3,500. The maximum award is $2,700 per academic year at an Oregon community colleges and $3,300 at an Oregon public university.
To be considered for Oregon Opportunity Grant, you must fill out the FAFSA or complete the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) as soon as possible after October 1.
Oregon Promise Grant
Oregon Promise is a state grant that covers most tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED recipients who filed a FAFSA or Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA).
Oregon Promise covers your remaining tuition amount only after any federal Pell Grant and Oregon Opportunity Grant funds have been applied — up to the average cost of 12 credits per term.
The place to begin your search for state money is the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) which has a good rundown of all the major Pennsylvania grants that you never have to pay back.
The Pennsylvania State Grant Program is a financial assistance program that provides funding to eligible Pennsylvanians to go to college. Summer State Grants are also available for eligible students taking summer courses.
Award amounts vary, and are determined by financial need, cost of tuition, and availability of funds. Most grants are in the range of $1,500-$4,000 per year.
To be considered for a Pennsylvania State Grant, you must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) no later than May 1 each year, and complete the PA State Grant Form.
Being the smallest state, Rhode Island has a real lack of state-sponsored financial aid, with the RI Promise Scholarship being the state only need-based grant program for students with financial need. But private foundations do provide merit-based scholarships for high-achieving Rhode Islanders.
Rhode Island Promise Scholarship
RI Promise Scholarship is designed to provide all RI high school graduates two years of college tuition free at the state’s public colleges, regardless of their family income.
As a need-based, last-dollar scholarship, RI Promise “fills the gap” between a student’s financial aid package and the actual costs of college.
There are no extra forms to fill out for this scholarship, only the standard FAFSA form. If you qualify, the school will credit money to your student account.
Apart from South Carolina’s southern charm, the Palmetto State offers enough state financial aid to make a two- or four-year degree affordable at both public and private colleges.
The best part is that most state-administered scholarships don’t require applications — just do well in high school and you’ll walk away with free money.
South Carolina Need-Based Grant
S.C. Need-based Grant provides financial aid to South Carolina’s neediest students. Eligible student may receive up to $2,500 annually if enrolled full-time or up to $1,250 annually if enrolled part-time.
In order to qualify for consideration for a South Carolina Need-based Grant, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form — preferably as early as January 1st of each academic year.
For more information about this grant, please contact:
(803) 737- 8348
There’s one need-based state grant program in the Mt. Rushmore State. So your best bet for financial aid is by standing out in high school, since several scholarships reward exemplary secondary school students.
Whether you’re looking to attend a South Dakota college or you are heading to a school across state lines, look for funding at the South Dakota Board of Regents.
South Dakota Need Based Grant Program (SDNBGP)
SDNBGP is a need-based grant program for South Dakota students that demonstrate “exceptional financial need” as determined by FAFSA. Awards vary between $500 to $2,000 per academic year.
However, not all schools participates in the program, so it’s best that you check with your school’s Financial Aid Office to see if your school offers SDNBGP.
State financial aid in Tennessee is primarily focused on low-income students (need-based) and high-achievers (merit-based) — including the well-known HOPE Scholarship.
The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) has targeted info on financial aid, including applications for state grants and scholarships — a great resource for students and parents.
The Tennessee Student Assistance Award is a state-funded grant program that provides non-repayable financial aid to needy undergraduate students who are enrolled at a public or an eligible non-public postsecondary institution in Tennessee.
Eligibility is based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $2100 or less. Grant amounts vary from $1,000 to $4,000 and are awarded to the neediest applicants on a first come, first served basis.
To receive priority consideration, you are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 each year.
Community College Reconnect Grant (CCRG) is a a first-come, first-served “last-dollar” scholarship program that targets adults 25 and older who want to finish an associate degree at a Tennessee community college.
Award amount varies based on amount of remaining tuition and mandatory fees after all other gift aid (e.g. scholarships & grants) has first been applied.12
For this, and any other aid, you will need to complete the FAFSA. This ensures that you will first receive all the federal and state aid you will qualify for before CCRG funds the remaining.
As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. That may also be true for the state financial aid dollars. All the big state players — Texas A&M, University of Texas, Texas State University — offer strong financial aid packages to low-income students.
Be sure to check out College for All Texans.
To be eligible for TEXAS (Towards EXcellence, Access and Success) Grant, you must demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA — that is, a 9 month EFC of no more than $5,430, and be enrolled at least three-quarter time.
Eligible students may receive up to $5,000 per academic year, contingent upon the availability of funds and will be cancelled or reduced in the event funds are no longer available.
Since funding is limited, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) by March 15th for priority consideration.
TEG is targeted at financially needy Texas residents planning to attend at least three-quarter (3/4) time at a private, non-profit college or university in Texas.
The maximum award amounts are typically around $3,420. However, students with exceptional need — those whose EFC is less than or equal to $1,000 may receive awards of up to $5,130 in a given year.
Administered by the state of Texas, TPEG provides assistance to students with financial need who are seeking a first Bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree or professional degree.
Texas residents and out of state residents who meet the priority deadline of March 15th are eligible. Award amounts may vary based on availability of funds and number of eligible applicants.
Since each institution set its own priorities in making awards to students, it’s best that you contact your college financial aid office for additional information on eligibility or availability of fund.
Utah doesn’t offer a lot of aid, but there is a handful of scholarship programs that can make college that little bit cheaper for high-achieving students — including the well-known Regents’ Scholarship.
Higher Education Success Stipend Program (HESSP)
HESSP (formerly UCOPE) is Utah’s supplemental grant and work-study assistance award available to Utah resident students with demonstrated financial need as evidenced by the award of Federal Pell Grants.
The total amount of any HESSP grant and/or work-study awards to an eligible student in an award year vary from a minimum of $300 to a maximum of $5,000 depending on the availability of funds.
However, not all schools participates in HESSP program so you need to check with your school’s financial aid office if the grant is available.
Finding affordable universities, especially in a small state such as Vermont, can be a challenge. Fortunately, the Green Mountain State offers several financial aid opportunities for Vermonters interested in pursuing higher education.
An excellent place to begin your search for college funding is the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) that administers several state grants and scholarship programs to Vermont residents.
Vermont Incentive grants are available for Vermont residents with financial need who are enrolled full-time at any postsecondary institution that participates in the federal Pell grant program.
The grant award amount is based on financial need and the actual cost of attendance — ranging from $1,000 to $12,200. The award amounts are determined annually based on funding availability.
Vermont Part-Time Grant is for Vermont residents enrolled in fewer than 12 credits per term. As with the Vermont Incentive Grant, awards vary and are calculated based on a student’s financial need and number of credits taken.
You can file both the FAFSA and the Vermont grant application online at www.vsac.org/grants on or after October 1st. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis for as long as funds are available.
The first place to go for information on student financial aid in Virginia is the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). In addition to info on state aid packages, SCHEV has provided links to important Financial Aid Applications & Forms.
Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG)
Tuition Assistance Grant Program (VTAG) is designed to assist Virginia residents who attend accredited private, nonprofit colleges and universities in Virginia. Applications are due July 31 each year but no later than December 1.
The award amount is based on the number of eligible students and the availability of funds. Based on recent funding thresholds, the maximum award for undergraduates is $3,270 and $1,640 for graduates.
Like many states, there are a variety of state financial aid packages directed towards low-income students in Washington State as well as lots of private and institutional scholarships up for grabs.
State Need Grant (SNG)
The State Need Grant (SNG) program provides need-based financial aid to lowest-income students pursuing postsecondary education. Amounts vary by the type of school enrolled, and range from $2,823 to $9,745.
To be eligible for the grant, applicants must have a household income that is less than 70% of the state’s median household income (MFI), while those with incomes below 50% of MFI will get the maximum award.
Completing the FAFSA is the first step of the application process. If you can’t fill out the FAFSA due to immigration status, you can apply by submitting the WASFA.
Financial aid comes in many forms – state and federal grants, private scholarships, loan repayment opportunities, and recruitment incentive programs for qualified students.
Begin your search at the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV) to learn about numerous scholarships and grants available to West Virginia students.
West Virginia Higher Education Grant
The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based financial aid program for undergraduate students who attend an approved private or public university or college in the state of West Virginia or Pennsylvania.
Award amounts vary based on the applicant’s demonstrated level of financial need and available funding, up to a maximum of $2,700 for each academic year.
For priority consideration, file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1, before May 1 deadline.
In “America’s Dairyland” residents and students of Wisconsin can milk these state-specific financial aid packages for all they’re worth — including grant for hearing & visually handicapped students.
You’ll find a list of grants and scholarships for Wisconsin students, advice on the financial aid application process and FAQs for popular state programs at Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB).
Wisconsin Tuition Grant
Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG) provides grant assistance — up to $3150, to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents attending a non-profit college or university in Wisconsin.
To be considered for this grant, you must complete the FAFSA each year by April 1st. Selection is based upon financial need with a limit of 10 semesters of eligibility.
Wyoming offers one of the lowest in-state college tuition and fees in the country.13 And to sweeten the deal, there are also attractive financial aid packages available — including private scholarships that award up to $5,000 annually.
Wyoming’s most generous scholarship program, Hathaway Scholarship features four merit-based awards, each one with specific academic requirements and a need-based scholarship for eligible students that supplements the merit awards.
Award amounts range from $840 to $1,680 per semester which you can use to pay for tuition at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college.
College Access Grant
Wyoming College Access Grant is a statewide “need-based” grant given to Wyoming residents attending college for the first time. Preference is given to students who qualify for federal Pell grant.
It will provide a $1,000 award to approximately 600 neediest students across the state. Since funds are limited, early FAFSA filing (before March 1st deadline) is encouraged.References
- The Washington Post, These states give more grant aid to college students in need than the feds
- The HOPE Scholarship is for eligible students seeking a degree program.
- To determine the HOPE Grant award amount you may receive, please review the attached chart here.
- To be eligible for the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), a student must have received Medicaid coverage for 24 months within a 36-consecutive month period between the ages of 9 and high school graduation.
- For the 2011-2012 award year a student must have earned at least $3,625 during the previous calendar year.
- Full-time TAG Award Table.
- The information on your FAFSA is used to calculate a New Jersey Eligibility Index (NJEI) which determines your financial eligibility for this award.
- Use this TAP Award Estimator to estimate the amount you may receive from the New York State Tuition Assistance Program.
- Homeschool students must be age 13, 14 or 15.
- NewsOK, Oklahoma’s Promise turns 25: Scholarship income limit would rise under bill
- 2017-18 Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Rates
- Gift aid is defined as the Federal Pell Grant, the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA), and lottery-funded programs.
- U.S News, 10 Cheapest Public Schools for In-State Students