State By State College Grants Guide

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 8/04/20

A large part of preparing for college is preparing to pay for college. This starts with filling out the FAFSA form in order to apply for federal aid in the form of grants and loans. But most states also offer their own grant and scholarships to their residents. In this guide, we lay out the grant and scholarships available at the state level for all fifty states, as well as Washington, D.C. 


Alabama offers the Alabama Student Assistance Program Grant for financially needy residents attending an eligible undergraduate Alabama institution. Award amounts range from $300 to $5,000. Alternatively, Alabama residents may receive up to $1,200 per year as undergraduates at independent Alabama colleges or universities. 


The Alaska Performance Scholarship provides up to $4,755 per year based on academic merit, and the Alaska Education Grant is available to students based on financial need in amounts of $500 to $4,000 per year.


The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE) aims to increase access to postsecondary education for Arizona residents. They offer the Arizona Teacher Student Loan Program, which is a need-based loan of up to $7,000 per academic year that is forgiven as long as they teach in an Arizona Public school for a certain number of years after receiving their degree. They also offer the Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance partnership which provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate residents of up to $2,500 per year.


The state of Arkansas Department of Higher Education has an online portal through which you can apply for multiple state grants and scholarships. The most popular is the Academic Challenge Scholarship which is open to all Arkansas residents and can provide as much as $14,000 toward their education.


There are seven different programs administered by the California Student Aid Commission. The main one, the Cal Grants program, offers money for California residents to attend schools in the state. The amount awarded varies and depends on financial need, school attending, and academic standing. In order to apply for Cal Grants or additional California financial assistance, you need to first complete the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application. 


Need-based awards offered by the state of Colorado include the Colorado Student Grant and the Colorado Graduate Grant. Amounts awarded range from $500 to $5,000 annually


Both need-based and merit-based funding is available to Connecticut residents through the Roberta B. Willis program. Students must attend a Connecticut public or nonprofit private college. Need-based awards are up to $4,500 per year and merit-based scholarships come in amounts of up to $5,250 per year. 


Multiple academic scholarships and grants are available for Delaware residents. A common application can be completed by creating a student account through the Delaware Department of Education’s Higher Education Office website. Up to twelve different grant and scholarship programs are available for those who qualify, including the Scholarship Incentive Program which offers need-based funds of up to $1,000 per year.


Florida is another state with a long list of grant and scholarship programs that can be accessed through a common application. Students should complete the Florida Financial Aid Application by creating a student account online. Among funding available to Florida residents attending Florida institutions are the Access to Better Learning and Education Grant, and The Bright Futures Scholarship program (which can fund as much as 100% of expenses for those in high academic standing). A dozen other grant and scholarship opportunities also exist under the common application.


Georgia’s HOPE and Zell Miller programs provide both merit-based scholarships and need-based grants to residents attending schools in the state. Award amounts vary based on number of credit hours and school attended. Some additional state programs also provide funding and can be accessed on the Georgia Student Finance Commission website.


Students planning on attending any of the schools in the University of Hawaii system can complete a common scholarship application which gains them access to over 600 different scholarships and grant opportunities depending upon their financial need, academic standing, and background.  


The Idaho State Board of Education administers several scholarships including both merit-based and need-based awards. The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship is a need-based award of up to $3,500 per year for students with a minimum 2.7 GPA. Additional need and merit-based opportunities include the Tschudy Family Scholarship, GEAR UP Idaho Scholarship 2, Idaho Postsecondary Credit Scholarship, and the Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship. 


The state of Illinois’ Monetary Award Program (MAP) offers need-based aid to students attending schools in the state. Your award amount, if you are eligible, will appear in the financial aid letter from the school you will attend. The maximum award amounts are $5,340 per year.


Students in Indiana can apply to become part of the 21st Century Scholars Program as early as their 7th-grade year. If they meet certain financial qualifications and adhere to certain academic standards, they can then have 100% of their college expenses covered when they attend a college or university in the state.


The Iowa Tuition Grant is available for Iowa students in amounts that could potentially cover all tuition expenses at an Iowa college or university. The grant is need-based and requires that you fill out the FAFSA. Additional grants and scholarships available for Iowa students can be found on the Iowa College Aid website. 


When you complete the Kansas Student Aid application, you gain access to several different need-based and merit-based awards offered by the state, including the Kansas Comprehensive Grant which offers as much as $3,500 in annual aid to qualified students.


The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority administers multiple need-based and merit-based awards, including the Kentucky Tuition Grant, which offers up to $3,000 per year, the College Access program grant, offering up to $2,000 per year, and the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships, which offers varying award amounts based on your academic record.


The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance administers eleven different scholarship and grant programs, including the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, which offers aid to over 50,000 students each year, and the GO grant for students with additional financial need. 


The Maine State Grant program offers need-based grants of up to $1,500 per year for qualifying students. Additional funding opportunities can be found on the Finance Authority of Maine’s webpage. 


Maryland residents have access to Howard P. Rawlings grants which cover as much as their total tuition if they meet certain financial criteria. By logging into the Maryland College Aid Processing System, residents can gain access to additional state grant and scholarship funds. 


Creating a MASSAid account allows Massachusetts residents access to multiple state-level grants and scholarships, including the MASSGrant program. Award amounts vary based on financial need and school attended. 


Michigan offers both competitive academic scholarships that are based on both need and merit in amounts up to $1,000 per year, as well as tuition grants for those with financial need in amounts of up to $2,800 per year. Additional information and opportunities can be found on the MI Student Aid website.


Students in Minnesota planning on attending an in-state school may be eligible for state grant funding if their family income is low to moderate. Award amounts are up to $12,345 per year but average $2,603. 


Filling out the Mississippi Aid Application puts students in contention for a variety of need-based and merit-based awards, including the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students that can cover their entire tuition if their need is great enough.


The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development administers numerous scholarship and grant programs, including the need-based Access Missouri program which can pay as much as $2,850 per year, and the merit-based Bright Flight award, which can pay as much as $3,000 per year.


The Montana University System offers multiple merit- and need-based awards that potentially cover all of your tuition. Certain students might also be eligible for tuition waivers. 


Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education administers the Nebraska Opportunity grant. Money is awarded through the state school attended. The average award amounts are $1,410 per year.


The Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship Program is available to Nevada residents who meet certain financial and academic requirements. Award amounts vary based on school attended and credits taken.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation awards more than $6 million in scholarships each year. Awards are based on both need and merit and range from $250 to $7,500 per year. 

New Jersey

By creating an account on the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority website, New Jersey students can apply for multiple state scholarship and grant opportunities. Need-based tuition Aid Grants may cover as much as all of the tuition at qualifying schools. Residents who rank in the top 15% of their class are also eligible for funding through the NJ STARS program. 

New Mexico

The Student Incentive Grant Program offers awards ranging from $200 to $2,500 per year for students with substantial financial need attending college in the state. Many scholarship opportunities also exist, including the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship and the New Mexico Scholars program. 

New York

The New York State Tuition Assistance Program offers awards of up to $5,165 annually to eligible students who meet income eligibility requirements. A variety of scholarships are also available for state residents. 

North Carolina

Several need-based grant opportunities can be found on the College Foundation of North Carolina’s website, including the NC Education Lottery Scholarship, and the NC Need-Based Scholarship. Award amounts vary based on need and institution attended.

North Dakota

The North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant offers up to $1,100 per semester for students attending qualifying schools. The North Dakota University System also offers merit-based scholarships that may cover as much as all of a student’s tuition.


The Ohio College Opportunity Grant offers need-based aid to eligible residents. Amounts are based on financial need and school attended. Additional state grant and scholarship opportunities can be found on the Ohio Department of Higher Education website. 


The Oklahoma Promise program allows high school students from low-income families to earn the entire college tuition. The state’s Academic Scholars Program additionally offers merit-based awards of up to $5,500.


The Oregon Opportunity Grant offers need-based funding of up to $3,600 annually for qualifying students. The Office of Student Access and Completion provides an application that gives access to over 500 scholarships throughout the state.


Need-based funding is available to Pennsylvania residents through the Pennsylvania State Grant Program in amounts of up to $4,123 per academic year.

Rhode Island

Being a small state, there are fewer state-wide resources for college to be found in Rhode Island. However, if you apply to any of the public institutions (Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, or the University of Rhode Island), you can find school-level funding available.

South Carolina

Many opportunities exist to help pay for higher education in South Carolina. Merit-based opportunities include the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program, the LIFE scholarship program, and the HOPE scholarship program. Need-based aid includes state grants of up to $2,500 annually and lottery tuition assistance of up to $1,140 per term. 

South Dakota

The South Dakota Board of Regents administers multiple need- and merit-based scholarships, including the Dakota Corps Scholarship, which can potentially cover all expenses, the Jump Start Scholarship which pays $1,500 annually, the Opportunity Scholarship which pays up to $6,500 total over four years, and need-based aid of up to $2,000 per year.


By registering for an account through the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation portal, students have access to a multitude of scholarships. This includes the merit-based Tennessee HOPE scholarship in amounts of up to $2,250 per semester. 


The Texas Public Educational Grant Program provides grant assistance to students with financial need. Those who meet additional academic requirements gain access to the TEXAS Grant as well. The Tuition Equalization Grant Program provides similar assistance to those attending private nonprofit schools in the state.


The Utah Promise Scholarship provides need-based aid to Utah residents attending public colleges and universities in the state. The Regents’ and New Century scholarships provide funding based on academic merit for students attending certain institutions.


In the state of Vermont, need-based grants of up to $12,300 per year are available as well as additional grants from some schools. The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) also administers several scholarships that can be applied for by creating a MyVSAC account.


Residents wishing to attend public institutions in Virginia may be awarded Commonwealth Awards or Guaranteed Assistance awards based on financial need. While amounts vary based on need, these awards could cover as much as the entire cost of tuition, fees, and books. The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program is available for students attending private Virginia institutions in amounts of up to $3,400.


Washington state offers a college grant to all students based on financial need. This grant can potentially cover all of the tuition at an eligible in-state public college or university. 

West Virginia

Opportunities abound in West Virginia with merit-based PROMISE scholarships offering up to $4,750 in annual aid and need-based West Virginia Higher Education Grants, among many others


The State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board administers a variety of need-based and merit-based grants and scholarships, including the Wisconsin Grant (up to $3,150 annually), the Talent Incentive Program (up to $1,800 annually), and the Academic Excellence Scholarship (up to $2,250 annually). 


The Hathaway Scholarship is available for Wyoming residents and can be used at any WY community college or the University of Wyoming. Amounts vary based on academic performance and can reach up to $1,680 per year.

Washington, D.C.

In the nation’s capital, the D.C. Tuition Assistance Program offers need-based aid to all residents. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education also provides links to additional scholarship opportunities. 

Financing Your Education

Your college education is important to you, but it can be a significant expense, especially if you are just starting out in life. Check out the resources available at College Finance for help in planning for college. Learn about all sources of funding, including grants, scholarships, and loans, and stay informed so you can make financial decisions that are right for you.