Financial aid, typically in the form of scholarships and grants, is available from state governments. No single resource exists that will give you all the state aid information you need. Instead, you have to investigate your state’s education department and the school you’ll be attending to get more information on what aid is available and how to apply for it.
Aid Differs Between States
Getting information about federal aid is easy, and it all starts with your FAFSA® application. However, state government aid varies from state to state, meaning there is no one answer to your question about what kind of aid you can get from your state. Almost all states have a grant or scholarship program available to residents, but some states have long lists while other states only have a few options. Finding financial aid from your state government could help you pay for college if your entire financial aid need isn’t met by your school.
Your State Grant Agency Will Have Information
Start your research with two great resources: your high school guidance counselor, and the U.S. Department of Education’s State Contacts website. Click the appropriate state on the map and get a list of phone numbers, websites, and addresses for the education departments in your state. Your state’s higher-education agency is the most likely place to find information on state grants and scholarships for students.
Check With Your College or University
The college or university you’re attending will also have information on getting state grants and scholarships. Florida, for example, has state grant programs you can only access through Florida schools. The Florida Student Access Grant (FSAG) is available to Florida students and residents attending state universities and public Florida colleges. Some private schools also award the FSAG. You apply for the FSAG through your school, and each school has different award amounts and application guidelines.
Look for Regional Reciprocal Programs
What if you’re attending an out-of-state school? In many cases, you won’t be eligible for state financial aid, but you should make absolutely sure. States and regions have created what is known as reciprocal programs, which allow students from certain parts of the country to attend out-of-state colleges at in-state tuition prices. Check out the New England Regional Student Program, the Midwest Student Exchange, the Western Undergraduate Exchange, and the Academic Common Market (which is a southern reciprocal program.)
Pay Attention to Application Requirements
Unlike the FAFSA®, which anyone attending college can fill out, make sure you’re not wasting your time filling out grant applications when you’re not eligible for the grant. Some of the need-based grants have specific financial conditions you must meet in order to gain consideration. Other programs might be for people in certain demographic groups or job types.
Applying for state aid is a little more complicated than filling out the FAFSA®, but getting additional grants and scholarships to help fund your education is worth the effort. If you’ll be attending an in-state school, don’t miss this opportunity for more financial aid.