Almost all students know to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), but many actually forget to check if their state government offers any financial aid. Here are some things you’ll need to know before you start the search.
Your Options Depend on Your State
Almost every state education department offers grants, scholarships, and financial aid. In most cases, though, they’re restricted to in-state residents. However, every program is different. Even if you live out of state, double-check with the state and college.
Every State Government Is Different
Every state offers different options when it comes to financial aid and it really depends on where you’re living when you go to apply to see what’s available for you. To get more information on your particular state, visit the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ (NASFAA) website and see all the available financial aid programs by state. Here are some examples of three different states:
One financial aid program New York State features is the TAP, or Tuition Assistance Program. A grant, it can award over $5,000 and does not need to be paid back. However, it can only be used at an approved school within the state and is only available for New York residents. The state also provides part-time study programs, programs for financially disadvantaged students, and scholarships for SUNY or CUNY students.
California features several grant programs, including the Cal Grant and Chafee Grant Program for foster youth. The state government designed this well-known scholarship program for middle-class students. The Dream Act also passed to help undocumented students apply for financial aid.
Iowa focuses mainly on grants and scholarships in the way of financial aid, not loans. Like California, they also have a grant dedicated to eligible students who are or were in foster care. Scholarships and grants are also designed for financial need and specifically intended careers, like the Iowa Barber and Cosmetology Arts and Sciences Tuition Grant.
State and Regional College Tuition Discounts
Even if you live out of the state of your intended college, you may still qualify for financial aid. Many states and regions have reciprocal programs that allow students to pay in-state tuition, even if they live out of state. Some regional programs included the Midwest Student Exchange, Western Regional Graduate Program, the New England Regional Student Program, and Academic Common Market for the southern region.
If you’re interested in learning more about tuition or discounts, check with your potential school to see if they take part in any specific state or regional programs. You can also get more information on NASFAA’s page dedicated to discounts.
Each state will have different programs regarding financial aid. One place to start is with the NASFAA website and the information provided for each state. You will also want to check with your high school counselor. They may be able to provide more information on any local, state, and regional financial aid programs you qualify for.
Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!