State Grants

Posted on July 19, 2015 in Government Grants

In the world of government grants for college, students looking for funding options should start with federal government grants because these grants cast the widest nets and have the most money available. As you start to look for other funding options as well, think about other categories to which you belong. The next answer is usually state grants available only to residents of each individual state.

Every state offers its own individual grant and scholarship programs. When you apply for federal government grants by submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you are also automatically considered for some state grants, but not all of them. Every state also has a Department of Higher Education, which usually offers college assistance. Most of these grants and scholarships are funded through state and local taxes and sometimes through state lottery funds.

States award grants directly to students, but they also give grants to specific colleges and universities, so check with the financial aid offices at the schools you are interested in to see what funds might be available.

Other types of state grants that are typically awarded to students include the following:

Need-based Grants

Awarded to students who just need help paying for college. These often kick in even after Federal Pell Grants have been awarded. These can also apply to disadvantaged students whose access to education has been severely limited.

Merit-based Grants

Awarded based on performance of the student in any one of a number of areas, including success in the classroom and on the field. Some grants are hybrids, meaning they might require you to demonstrate financial need and keep a certain grade point average.

Military Grants

Veterans and National Guard members can often find state grants to help with their funding.

High-Need Fields

Students interested in fields of study with a high need for workers can often get state grants. Teaching and nursing are good examples here. Some grants require you to work in that field for a certain time period after you graduate.

Minorities and Women

These state-funded grants try to promote increased educational diversity and increased access to educational opportunities for groups which traditionally may not have had as much opportunity as others.

Students With Disabilities

States and college both offer grants to this population, which increases their opportunity to get the education that can make such a difference for them. As you look for state grants, think about all the unique populations you belong to and check to see if any of those groups offer grants or scholarships. Children of Methodist ministers, for example, could have a grant that is available only to them. You never know until you look, and sometimes it may be a combination of attributes that gets you that extra grant.

For all of these state grants, remember to make sure you apply early and have all the necessary documentation you need. College financial aid offices are usually the best source of information on state grants, so do not be afraid to check with them – they are there to help.

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