Whether you are applying to a trade school, community college, or a 4-year college or university, chances are you will need assistance funding the cost of your tuition. Most people know about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, which secures federal student loans, grants and scholarships. What you might not know is that attending college in the state where you are a resident can open up many more financial aid opportunities.
There are three places to look for financial aid in your state:
- Your state’s department of higher education
- The school you are enrolled in
- Community organizations
There are several standard factors that determine eligibility for any form of financial aid, whether it is a scholarship, grant, student loan, work-study, or a loan forgiveness program. To figure out whether you would qualify for state aid, review the following list of standard requirements:
- You must be a US citizen, or a Legal Permanent Resident
- You must be a resident of the state in which you are applying for at least 12 months.
- You must be in good academic standing, which is typically a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.
- You must not be in default on any student loans
Scholarships administered by the state are usually developed for traditional college students who are entering into college straight from high school, or for nontraditional adult students applying for their first associates degree or bachelors degree. Most states have smaller scholarships for students enrolled in a certificate program at a trade school or community college. Scholarships for masters degrees are more of a challenge to find, but many states have at least one scholarship for graduate students. Scholarships may be based on a number of criteria, including financial need; academic merit; special talents; department/major; ethnic background; special circumstances, such as being the child or spouse of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty; and military members.
Loan forgiveness programs are beneficial to the students and community because they provide financial aid for college students to complete their degree programs and provide nearly guaranteed staff for areas of job shortages. Typically after a student who has participated in a loan forgiveness program earns his degree he must use his degree to work at a full-time position in the state. Sometimes, the shortages are located in rural areas where there is a smaller pool of qualified applicants for key community positions, such as nurses, teachers, and medical professionals.
To find out what scholarships, grants, student loans and other forms of financial aid are available in your state, click on your state name below.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Tips & Tactics
- For the most up-to-date information on student financial aid in your state, visit the Website of your state's department of higher education.
- Each student loan has different interest rates and other associated fees. It is important to compare student loans to find the loans with the lowest interest rates and fees.
- Remember to apply for scholarships and grants before applying to student loans, as those forms of financial aid do not need to be repaid, and are essentially free money toward your college education.