State Grants for College

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What are State Grants for College?

Your state may be a valuable resource for college funding. State grants for college are a type of gift aid. You don’t usually need to pay it back.

Most state grants apply to in-state schools. But some may enable you to use financial aid from your home state to pay out-of-state tuition.

What States have Tuition Reciprocity?

Many states have tuition reciprocity programs. Also called ‘tuition breaks’ they allow residents to attend university in another state without having to pay out of state tuition.

Good places to check are your state and the colleges on your interest list. Here are a few examples:

Ask how to sign up and whether you can use your state grant for an out-of-state college. This may make it possible to take some classes online.

How Do You Qualify for State Financial Aid for College?

Each state may have different criteria though for handing out grants for college. Some typical qualifications are that you must attend an approved post secondary school as a full time student and good academic performance. Here are ten examples of eligibility rules for state college grants:

  1. Attend a post secondary school approved by your state education board
  2. Are enrolled at least half-time (E.g. at least 6 semester credits but less than 12 semester credits per semester, or the equal)
  3. Are enrolled at least half-time (E.g. at least 6 semester credits but less than 12 semester credits per semester, or the equal)
  4. If enrolled in an out-of-state or online college, at least 50% of your courses are in the classroom
  5. Meet your state’s criteria for academic standing
  6. Not already have a bachelor’s degree
  7. Are a resident (but not in jail)
  8. Are not in default of a student loan
  9. Have not received the max number of state grants already

How do I apply for a state grant for college?

To receive financial aid, you must apply for it. A good place to start is with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA figures out how much a student and their family can pay for college.

The number it comes up with is your financial need. It is the total cost of attendance at your college. Less the amount of your estimated family contribution (EFC).

Many states use the data from the EFC and FAFSA to figure out your eligibility for a state college grant. They may include a grant with the financial aid package sent by the colleges you applied to.

Remember that there are annual deadlines for most grant programs. Though if you miss one, you can try again next year. These do not always line up with deadlines to submit your FAFSA or college application.

Where does tuition grant money come from?

State grant money may come from property taxes and lottery funds. But because each state administers their own program, sources may vary. For instance, they might come from:

  • Local city governments
  • Corporate, community, private donors
  • Nonprofits – charitable organizations

Why Consider a State Grant to Pay for College?

A state grant may make a college degree more affordable. They may also help pay for your college’s tuition, fees, housing, books and supplies. At last check, 22% of undergraduates received financial aid from state sources.

This is even more helpful if you plan to attend a public university. These have a lower cost of attendance (COA). The COA factors in tuition, fees, housing, books and supplies.

Data shows it recently cost $24,300 to pursue a college degree at a public institution. Additionally, private non-profit schools average $50,300. While private for-profit schools have an average COA of $32,200.

How much money for college do state grants award?

The average amount of state aid for undergraduates who received it was $2,700. This means some states award more, will others offer less. For example, Minnesota offers state aid to in-state undergrads and graduates.

The highest award for 2017-2018 ranges from about $7,463 at a public two-year college to $11,812 at a private four-year college. The average award is approximately $2,401. The minimum award is $100 per year.

5 Types of State Tuition Grants

There are various types of state grants that may help you fund your college degree:

1. Need-based grants: States award many grants to students who need help paying for college. These need based grants look at your financial need and FAFSA.

The New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) is one example. TAG is a need-based grant program. It is an option for degree-seeking, NJ resident, undergraduate students. As one of the most generous state education grants, it pays up to $7,086 for state colleges and universities.

2. Merit-based grants are different. They look at your abilities. Things like GPA, artistic or athletic talents, leadership, and community service.

There are some hybrid grants also. These look at your financial need, but you may need to keep up your GPA while in school.

3. Grants for minority students: Another type of grant may be a state-funded grant for minority students. These promote diversity and offer an incentive for minority students.

One example is Wisconsin’s Minority Undergraduate Retention Program. It is for students who identify as African American, American Indian, Hispanic, or Southeast Asian from Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam. These need based grants pay up to $2,500.

4. Grants for foster care youth: Some states provide funding to students who are or were in foster care. Iowa is one example. These grants pay from $2,442 to $8,815. They are for students in Iowa’s foster care system.

5. Grants for Veterans and National Guard Members: There are grants in many states for veterans and National Guard Members. An example is Indiana. They offer many grants, one of which is the National Guard Tuition Supplement Grant.

It provides 100% of tuition and fees at a public Indiana college. It is for eligible members of the Indiana Air and Army National Guard.

List of State Grants for College

Almost every state education agency has at least one grant available to residents. Many also have a long list of student aid programs. These are some of the top state grants for college to get you started.

All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant

This award is available to Iowa undergraduate students who were previously adjudicated in the Iowa foster care system and planning to attend a college or university in Iowa. The student must not be over 23 years old.

Total: $2445

Awards: 202

Deadline: March 01

Texas Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG)

This award is for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who are Texas residents or are non-Texas residents but are recognized as a National Merit Finalists. Students must be enrolled at least 3/4 time at an eligible private, non-profit colleges or universities in Texas for, and must demonstrate financial need.

Total: $4700

Awards: 32466

Deadline: March 01

Cal Grant A Competitive Award

This award is for U.S. undergraduate students who are residents of California and are planning to or currently attending an eligible college or university in the state of California. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and must meet certain family income and asset requirements as set by the state of California.

Total: $15000

Awards: 1312

Deadline: March 02

Cal Grant C

This award is for U.S. undergraduate students who are residents of California pursuing a technical education at an eligible college or university in the state of California. Students must be enrolled in a vocational training program lasting from four to twenty-four months and must meet certain family income and asset requirements as set by the state of California.

Total: $9027

Awards: 7700

Deadline: March 02

Pennsylvania State Grant Program

This award is for Pennsylvania undergraduate students who are planning to attend an eligible college or university in Pennsylvania or eligible colleges with reciprocal agreements with Pennsylvania. Students must demonstrate financial need and have an EFC of $5,081 or lower, as determined by completing the FAFSA.

Total: $2482

Awards: 181528

Deadline: May 01

Florida Student Assistance Grant Program (FSAG)

This award is available to Florida high school seniors and undergraduate students who are attending a participating Florida public or private institution or career center. The applicant must demonstrate substantial financial need.

Total: $1006

Awards: 62952

Deadline: May 15

NY Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

This award is available to New York resident undergraduate students who are attending an eligible postsecondary institution in New York. Students must demonstrate financial need and must meet the income and asset limits set by the NY State commission.

Total: $2500

Awards: 397000

Deadline: June 30

Indiana Part-Time Grant Program

This grant is available for Indiana residents undergratuate students who are enrolled part-time at an eligible Indiana college or university. The student must demonstrate financial need.

Total: $1097

Awards: 4895

Deadline: June 30

D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG)

This award is for U.S. students who are residents of the District of Columbia. The student must be enrolled in a first bachelor degree program and in good academic standing (as defined by the institution).

Total: $6500

Awards: 5102

Deadline: July 01

Wisconsin Hearing & Visually Handicapped Student Grant Program

This award is available for U.S. undergraduate students who are residents of Wisconsin who are planning attend an in-state or eligible out-of-state public or independent higher education institution. Students must have a severe or profound hearing or visual impairment and demonstrate financial need.

Total: $5000

Awards: 100

Deadline: 

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