State Financial Aid Grants for College

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by Danielle McDonald

According to a 2019 Sallie Mae Report, approximately 57% of families used at least one grant in academic year 2018-19 to pay for college. Thus, 49% of these families did not have to borrow student loans.

Grants, whether they are from the federal government, your school, or another organization, are vital as they can reduce the amount of money you need to borrow for loans. Also, sometimes even replace loans entirely.

State grants for college are usually need-based, and your FAFSA determines it. However, they are still a great way to save money. This is a comprehensive list of all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, along with their major awards, to help you find out what grants are available.

How to Locate State Grants for College

The federal government offers four grants for college and graduate students are available under the Department of Education. However, there are many ways to get state grants for college.

You should be aware of the deadlines for grant applications and eligibility rules, just like with scholarship opportunities. For instance, these programs are usually restricted, but not all the time, to residents enrolled in qualified in-state schools.

In other cases, you might be able to apply to the state’s education division. While in others, you will need to apply directly with your school, or list the school on your completed FAFSA. Keep in mind that most state grants require filling out the FAFSA.

In addition, many states exclude students who have defaulted on student loans.

Here’s an overview on state grants for college, whether you’re a freshman, a professional or graduate student, or an adult returning to school.

Alabama

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education offers two grants. Both grants require residency, and they are provided on the basis of financial need. The Assistance Program Grant provides financial aid between $300 and $5,000 per student. While the Alabama Student Grant offers a maximum of $1,200 per annum.

Alaska

Undergraduates can receive grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 through the Alaska Education Grant. The state’s legislature places students in the highest financial need first, and then moves down to students who can contribute more to their education until they exhaust the funds. The recipients could be eligible for up to $16,000 during their undergraduate education.

Arizona

In recent years, the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education eliminated four state grant programs. However, it still offers one for students in financial need. Participating state schools may offer undergraduates with high financial need up to $2,500 annually through the Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership. Although, the average award is around $1,000.

Arkansas

Three types of students are eligible for grants from the state’s education department:

  • Future Grant: Students looking for in-state certificates and associate degrees in highly-demand fields, including science, technology, math, and engineering from qualifying programs.
  • Health Education Grant: For graduates pursuing professional medical degrees at one of the 77 qualified schools out-of-state.
  • Teacher Opportunity Program: Provides funding for teachers to further their education with access up to $3,000 per year in reimbursement grants.

California

California provides more grant aid to students with low incomes than the federal Pell Grant expenditure, and it is the highest among all states, according to a University of California at Berkeley study in 2017. It also has the grant programs to prove this.

Apart from Cal Grant Programs, which are a selection of awards for undergraduates, the state also offers California Chafee Grant program. It is targeted at youth in foster care. Moreover, the California Dream Act provides funds to students in financial need.

Colorado

Colorado offers tuition assistance for families of military members and public servants. It also has two grants for undergraduate and graduate students, who have proven financial need through the FAFSA.

Connecticut

High school seniors and graduates can receive up to $4,500 through the state’s Roberta B. Willis Need-Based Grant Program. It can be used for tuition at a public or private nonprofit two- or four-year school in the state.

In order to be eligible, residents of Connecticut must have an Expected Family Contribution within the state’s sanctioned range.

Delaware

The Delaware Department of Education’s Higher Education Office offers a Scholarship Incentive Program. It awards $1,000 to undergraduate and graduate students who perform well but also have financial need. The minimum grade point average required is 2.5.

A second grant is available to Delaware residents for children of deceased veterans of the military, the state police, or Department of Transportation.

District of Columbia

The DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG), which the nation’s capital offers, comes in two forms of awards each year:

  • You can get up to $10,000 towards the difference in tuition for public schools in-state and out-of-state.
  • Private schools in D.C. and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country can receive up to $2,500.

These grants are only available to undergraduates aged 26 and younger who are enrolled in qualifying schools.

The DC Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program also offers up to $4,000 per student every year. However, it is a last-dollar award that would pay for any gaps in attendance costs after all financial aid has been exhausted.

Florida

Students applying for grants from Florida must complete the FAFSA and the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) of the state. Although not required for all grants, the FFAA does allow you to keep the following options available:

Georgia

Georgia Student Finance Commission runs five state-funded scholarships. Besides the grants in ties to the military and public servants’ families, the Tuition Equalization Grant Program assists all students regardless of their financial need to afford private schools within the state.

The REACH Georgia scholarship may be more suitable for students with low incomes who attend any school in the state. The program also provides mentoring on campus and a maximum of $10,000 for a four-year scholarship.

Hawaii

Visit your campus financial assistance office if you live in this state. Residents with low income can apply for Hawaii-funded Opportunity Grants through their schools. These grants can cover tuition, but not fees.

Idaho

The Idaho State Board of Education offer seven scholarships which are the state-funded. Four of the scholarships, though not grants in name, are need-based. They also have merit-based requirements.

The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship (2.7 grades per average), the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship to Adult Learners (2.5), and the Tschudy family Scholarship (2.6) have academic performance requirements. Only the GEAR UP Idaho Scholarship 2 does not take merit into consideration.

Illinois

Illinois grants are available to students who have relationships to veterans, the national guardsmen, and dependents of fire, police, and correctional officers. These two grant programs might be of assistance to you even if you are not in one of these groups:

  • Higher Education License Plate Program: When Illinois residents purchase license plates that feature their alma maters, they help fund this program for current or prospective students at the same school. Each year, the number of awards is different.
  • Monetary Awards Program (MAP): Undergraduates in need who attend approved schools within Illinois can qualify for financial aid to pay tuition and mandatory fees. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission offers a calculator to assist you estimate your award. Check out the MAP Estimator.

Indiana

EARN Indiana, one of the many aid options in the state, is a work-study program for students from low-income families. Those who are part of the EARN Indiana are paid to work as interns.

Three grant options are available to students in financial need:

  • Frank O’Bannon Grant: Undergraduates in financial need may be eligible for awards that are tied to their expected family contributions (EFC). A student who has an EFC of $0 in 2020 may qualify for a grant of between $2,900 and $9,200, depending on the school they choose.
  • Adult Scholarship Grant: A $2,000 grant can be given to working adults to start or continue their education. This program was established in 2015 to serve the needs of 750,000 Indiana residents who have some college experience, but not a degree.
  • Workforce Ready Grant: The program covers tuition and a few fees for residents of working age who are pursuing certificates at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University, or other approved programs.

Iowa

Iowa College Student Aid Commission administers several assistance programs for residents, including four grants of different purposes:

  • Iowa Tuition Grant: Iowans automatically get considered for this award by completing the FAFSA. This grant helps cover tuition at any school within the state.
  • Iowa Vocational-Technical Grant: Up to $900 could be awarded annually to students enrolled in a career- or technical education program at Iowa community colleges.
  • Kibbie Grant (Iowa Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant): This grant is available to two-year school students, and covers half of the average tuition costs and mandatory fees for an Iowa community college.
  • Future Ready Iowa Grant: Students who have completed at least half of their credits for their degree can receive up to $3,500 annually. This makes it a great opportunity for transfer.

Kansas

The state offers two grants to students from different backgrounds, in addition to its scholarship programs:

  • Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant: All students in Kansas who are pursuing a technical certificate, or an associate degree in applied science can apply. However, students who have financial need will be first to receive the $1,000 benefit.
  • Kansas Comprehensive Grant: Students with financial aid in the state can receive $100 to $3,500, depending upon their school type and their income level. According to the state, only 1 in 3 eligible applicants will be granted aid due to a lack of funding.

Kentucky

Kentucky’s Higher Education Assistance Authority offers two grant opportunities with different maximum awards working in conjunction with 10 state-funded scholarships: the College Access Program Grant ($2,000); the Tuition Grant ($3,000). Each grant’s priority is based on the financial need of the resident undergraduates.

Louisiana

Louisiana offers one grant opportunity among its many forms for support in higher education. According to the Office of Financial Assistance, the GO Grant is designed to assist “nontraditional and low to moderate-income students.”

Individual grants awards can range from $300 to $3,000 annually. In order to qualify for the GO Grant, students must have a federal Pell Grant.

Maine

Maine offers financial assistance to residents in the form of scholarships, loan forgiveness programs, and tuition waivers. One of its highlights is the Maine State Grant Program.

Students from low-income families may be eligible for financial aid to help them attend any school in the state through the program. Students with a family contribution of less than $4,500 can receive support up to $1,500 for the 2020-21 academic school year.

Additionally, the Maine State Grant Program for Adult Learners offers up to $1,500 for students who were born before January 1, 1996.

Maryland

Maryland offers three grants as a part of its Howard P. Rawlings Program of Educational Excellence Awards in addition to its need-based scholarships. It also has a grant program for part time students:

  • Guaranteed Access Grant: High school seniors who are interested in applying must be from a family with a household income below 130% for new applicants or 150% for renewal applicants. There is a maximum amount for the renewable grant, and it was $19,100 for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Educational Assistance Grant: Undergraduate students in financial need could be eligible for assistance between $400 and $3,000 annually.
  • Campus-Based Educational Assistance Grant: Students with financial need, but were not qualified for the Educational Assistance Grant since they did not submit the FAFSA on time, may receive up to $3,000 through their school.
  • Part-time Grant: This grant is available to students who are using dual enrollment to attend both a Maryland high school and a public college or university. The grant ranges from $200 to $2,000.

Massachusetts

The state’s Department of Higher Education provides seven grants via the Office of Student Financial Aid:

  • Foster Child Grant: Students under 25 years old can get up to $6,000 towards tuition at any school in the U.S.
  • MASSGrant: Students who have a family income between $0 and $5,486 may be eligible for financial aid to attend approved schools in Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
  • Gilbert Matching Scholarship Grant: Schools have the option to draw from the commonwealth’s fund in order to give financial aid to students between $250 and $2,500 annually.
  • Cash Grant: Students who are already eligible for tuition assistance due to financial need may receive this grant to help with additional education expenses.
  • Part-Time Grant: Students in financial need who are returning to school on a part-time basis may receive a minimum of $200 in aid.
  • Public Service Grant: This program is not based on financial need, and it covers all tuition costs of children and spouses of deceased public servants, including firefighters, police officers, and military veterans.
  • Paraprofessional Teacher Training Grant: Students pursuing a teacher’s license may receive between $4,000 to $7,500 every year, depending on the school they choose.

Michigan

The Michigan Tuition Grant provides financial aid to students in need along with the grants for children of the state’s veterans. Students attending Michigan’s nonprofit schools can receive a maximum of $2,800.

Minnesota

Undergraduate students in financial need may be eligible for an average award of $2,603 using the Minnesota State Grant. Students can apply by filling out FAFSA. Undocumented students who are not eligible to fill out the FAFSA may fill out the state’s Dream Act application instead.

For more specific circumstances, here are four additional Minnesota-funded grants:

  • Childcare Grant: Post-secondary students in the state who have children aged 12 or younger may be eligible for up to $5,200 every year per child to help with costs of child care.
  • Minnesota Teacher Candidate Award: Scholarships up to $7,500 per term may be awarded to aspiring teachers who are interested in teaching in underserved areas of Minnesota.
  • Public Safety Officer’s Survival Grant: If your loved one has died in the line-of-duty, you can receive an annual tuition-and-fees pledge up to $5,963 for a two-year school, or $15,142 for a four-year program.
  • Grants for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: The award amounts are different for qualified students at Bethel University (St. Paul), Central Lakes College (Brainerd), or Ridgewater Community College (campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson).

Mississippi

Two grants are available from the state’s Institutions of Higher Learning for undergraduate students who attend any school within the state. They are partially merit-based, unlike other grants in other states.

Mississippi grants include:

  • Tuition Assistance Grant: Students who apply must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, or an ACT score of at least 15 to receive between $500 and $1,000 every year.
  • Eminent Scholars Award: Students applying for aid must have a high school grade point average minimum of 3.5, or an ACT score of at least 29 (or SAT scores of at least 1350) to receive up to $2,500 every year.

Missouri

The state provides financial assistance for military and public service families, and scholarships for minorities and other groups based on need. Each of the state’s grant programs serves a different purpose:

  • High school students who do well on advanced placement tests in science and mathematics can receive $500 from the Advanced Placement Incentive grant.
  • The Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program is for undergraduates in public schools who have a family income of less than $12,000. A four-year attendees could be eligible for $1,500 to $2,800 in aid. While two-year students could get $300 to $1,300.

Montana

With $4 million in state funding approved to 2020 and 2021, Montana now offers two need-based gift assistance opportunities. Both are school-awarded and state-funded.

  • The Investing In Student Success opportunity was created for students in financial need who are eligible for federal Pell Grants, but the awarding schools still maintain academic criteria.
  • The state’s MUST PASS Grants intends to “assist students working through unforeseen or one-time occurrences,” with a maximum lifetime limit per student of $1,000.

Nebraska

The Nebraska Opportunity Grant is state-funded, but schools pays them out. Priority is determined based on the estimated family contribution, which is calculated from your FAFSA. In 2018-19, the average award was $1,410. The aid went to 63% of families whose household income was below $40,000.

New Jersey

Students must fulfill the traditional grant requirements to be eligible for the state’s Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG), such as living in the state for a minimum of a year. The amount of the award also varies depending on which school you attend.

Students would be eligible for between $2,712 to $12,798, depending upon their school choice during the 2019-20 academic year. To estimate your potential amount, use the TAG Award Estimator.

New Jersey also offers an Educational Opportunities Fund Grant to disadvantaged students. This grants $200 to $2,650 for expenses such as room and board that the TAG does not cover. Ask your (prospective) college financial aid office to determine your eligibility after you have completed the FAFSA.

New Mexico

In Sept. 2019, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced a revolutionary program which will make New Mexico the first state to offer tuition-free college to all residents, regardless of their income. However, the program is not yet law of the land.

The Higher Education Department of New Mexico offers two grants that are renewable each year to residents who attend public schools within the state in the meantime:

  • Incentive Grant Program: This grant is for students who have “substantial financial needs.” It provides $200-$2,500 per year in aid.
  • College Affordability Grant: This grant is available to students who aren’t eligible for any state gift aid. It provides $1,000 per semester.

New York

New York was the first state to offer free tuition at public colleges through its Excelsior Scholarship program in 2017. However, even if you are eligible for this form of gift aid it will not cover room and board.

To learn more about the Educational Opportunity Program, the state encourages students to visit their school’s financial aid offices. The household income of a student is measured in order to receive the grant, which includes financial assistance and academic support. For instance, a family of four must have a household income below $47,638 for the 2020-21 academic year to become eligible.

If you have a light course load, the Aid for Part Time Study program might be better suited for you. It offers up to $2,000 per year as support.

North Carolina

The College Fund of North Carolina instructs students living in the state to complete the FAFSA, list their top in-state schools, then wait for a response. It does not require formal applications to receive grant money.

Depending on the income of your family and whether you are attending a four-year or two-year school, aid might be available through the NC Community College Grant Program, or the North Carolina Need Based Scholarship.

North Dakota

The North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant Program provides up to $1,100 per semester or $733 per quarter for local undergraduate students. As long as the FAFSA is completed, qualified students will be notified.

Ohio

The state’s College Opportunities Grant is one of its many forms of financial aid. It is available to undergraduate students who have an expected family contribution of less than $2,190, and a household income below $96,000, provided they are enrolled at an Ohio- or Pennsylvania-eligible school. The deadline for applications is October 1 every year.

Recently, Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources launched its Geological Survey Grant Program. This program awards a pair of $1,200 grants for earth science students completing graduate-level research at state schools.

Oklahoma

The state offers a handful of scholarships, and they boast its Oklahoma Promise initiative. It was formerly known as Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. This program guarantees need-based scholarships for families with a household income of $55,000 or lower. The program was also instrumental in helping 15,935 students pay for college in the 2018-19 academic calendar.

Oregon

The Office of Student Access and Completion of the state has five grant opportunities. These include programs for foster children, children of deceased or disabled public safety officers, and students who are parents.

Other grants that the office offers include:

  • Opportunity Grant: Students who have a less than $3,500 family contribution could receive up to $3,600 annually. The grants are reserved for the neediest applicants, not those who apply the earliest.
  • Promise Grant: Students who have a less than $34,000 family contribution can receive $1,000 to $4,005 for community college tuition. A student must have a minimum 2.5 GPA at the end of high school.

Filling out the FAFSA is required for each grant. However, the state can also establish the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSSA) for undocumented immigrants who live in the state.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State Grant Program was created to help students in the state with financial need. During the 2019-20 school year, recipients could receive up to $4,123 in aid every year, depending on their family income and the school they choose.

pheaa.org

The state application forms must be completed by May 1, each year.

Rhode Island

The smallest state in America expanded its RI Promise program in January 2017. This was done in order to provide all high school graduates with a free community college education. It is known as a last-dollar scholarship.It fills the gap after all other gift aid is tallied, and a few students are left in need of Rhode Island student loan.

South Carolina

The state’s Commission on Higher Education established its need-based grant program among its other scholarship and tuition assistance programs. The participating public schools determine every recipient’s award once accounting for any other gift aid is done. Full-time students may receive up to $2,500 annually. While part-time students may be eligible for up to $1,250.

South Dakota

South Dakota’s Needs Based Grant Program provides funds to 16 participating in-state schools to give out every year. Each school may grant between $500 to $2,000 to low-income students.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation manages six unique grant programs among the financial aid initiatives. The half-dozen programs offer grants to military veterans and foster children. These are the four remaining grant opportunities:

  • Student Assistance award: Undergraduate students with a family income below $2,100 may be eligible for up to $4,000 to help them attend eligible schools.
  • HOPE access Grant: Incoming freshmen who have a minimum of 2.75 GPA and an ACT score of at least 18 to 20 are qualified to receive amounts up to $1,250 per semester for four-year schools and $875 for two-year schools.
  • Dual Enrollment Grant: Juniors and seniors in high school who are taking college courses for credit may receive between $100-$500 per hour of class.
  • Reconnect Grant: For part-time independent students, perhaps adults returning to school, who have established residence in the State.

Texas

The state’s Higher Education Board offers need-based scholarships, and highlights four grant opportunities on its “College for All Texans” website. Each requires that students maintain a 2.5 GPA in college.

Vermont

Vermont offers three grant opportunities to support three academic tracks. The applicants, who have financial need, are required to submit online applications for its grants. Every candidate is reviewed on a rolling basis, so it’s a good idea to apply as soon as you can.

  • Incentive Grant: Undergraduate students, veterinary students, and medical students at the University of Vermont could be eligible for $1,000 to $12,000 in aid.
  • Part-Time Grant: The aforementioned groups of students who take less than 12 credits per term may be eligible for a $500 to $9,230 grant, depending on the course load.
  • Advancement Grant (previously called the Non-Degree Grant): Students who are not in high school, and want to continue their education or get a job can take up to two courses each term covered.

Virginia

Virginia has several active grant programs, and the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program is the most prominent. This program allows students to attend private schools. Undergraduate and graduate students need to submit applications in order to be eligible for up to $3,400 and $,700, respectively.

There are also other grant programs:

Washington

The Washington College Grant, which replaced the similarly-operating State Need Grant in 2019, intends to assist students with the lowest income. Students must be from a low-income family in order to be eligible. For instance, a family of four must make $64,000 or less.

The amount of grant awarded depends on which school you attend. For example, University of Washington students may receive up to $10,748, Evergreen State College students may be eligible for $6,961, while students of private nonprofit colleges could get as high as $9,739.

West Virginia

West Virginia also offers three grant programs in addition to half a dozen of scholarships:

  • Higher Education Grant: The award is need-based, but applicants must show “academic promise.” The grant can be used in schools within the state, and also in approved schools in Pennsylvania.
  • Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student Grant Program: The award amounts depends on the student’s course load, but it can reach $2,000, at maximum. You are welcome to apply if you are an adult returning to school, or looking for a credential or certificate to start a new career.
  • West Virginia Investments: This “last-dollar” financial aid program was passed into law in 2019. It covers tuition and fees for associate’s degrees and certificate programs leading to in-demand career paths.

Wisconsin

There are a few grants available from the state, and they all have traditional requirements such as being a resident. However, not all grants are available to all schools.

State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board

The state sets the award amount each year, but here are some details regarding each of the grants:

  • Wisconsin Grant: These grants are divided between students who attend public and private nonprofit schools. They offer $250 to $3,150 in aid annually.
  • Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant: This grant is for “the most financially needy and educationally disadvantaged Wisconsin resident students.” It is worth $600 to $1,800.
  • Indian Student Assistance Grant: Undergraduate students with at least one quarter Native American heritage may be eligible for up to $250 to $1,100.
  • Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant: Undergraduate students of African American, Native American, Latino, or Southeast Asian heritage can receive between $250 and $2,500.
  • Hearing & Visually Handicapped Student Grant: Undergraduates with significant hearing loss or visual impairment may be eligible for a student grant of $250 to $1,800.

Wyoming

The state does not provide grants by name themselves. However, lawmakers funded a program named after former Gov. Stanley Hathaway that offers one need-based scholarship for students of University of Wyoming and community college.

Application for State Grants for College

The following states do not currently have any active, publicly funded grant programs:

  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Utah

However, these states offer many resources. For instance, Nevada assists parents to save money for their younger children’s college fees by matching funds via the Silver State Matching Grant.

You should also review the aid options available to you in your state. Click on the DOE’s map of contact information for each state’s department of education to get more details. You could also visit your (prospective) school directly. For example, you can find the financial aid office’s listing of available grants if you are looking for Texas grants for college, and you are enrolled at Texas State University.

Submitting your application for state grants for college is a crucial step in financing your education. This might be able to save you from taking out (more) student loans, too.

You might also be interested in reading about Grants for Single Mothers or Grants for First Time Home Buyers?

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