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State-Sponsored Grants

State-sponsored grants are awarded directly by your college, or through the state-sponsored program. State-sponsored grants are often need-based, but some look at specific characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, and intended area of study. There are merit-based state-sponsored grants that look at GPA and standardized test scores. Other awards are given based on a students’ membership or involvement in the state organization. Contact state-sponsored educational organizations, local higher education assistance foundations, your high school, or your intended college for state-based grant opportunities. There are also scholarships grouped by state, found through our scholarship search.

Fund Your Future

Colleges have grant and scholarship funds exclusively for students enrolled in that college. Grants from state schools consider financial need before other criteria. For example, The Michigan Educational Opportunity Grant, modeled after the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, is only for Pell Grant recipients who are Michigan residents enrolled at least half-time on a Michigan campus. The California Student Aid Commission’s Cal Grants awards up to $12,240 a year to pay for expenses at a qualifying California college, university or career and technical school.

To qualify for state-sponsored grants, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. If you quality for the Federal Pell Grant, you are automatically eligible for state-sponsored grants through your college.

Consider Your Local Options

If you study in-state, you are eligible for state grants. Check for grants in your field. High-demand fields typically offer more money. Be aware that state-sponsored grants that are career-specific have in-state working requirements after graduation. If you’re not sure where you want to work after graduation, weigh your options before accepting a grant with that restriction. Grants become loans if you do not hold up to your end of the deal.

There are scholarship programs exclusively for minorities. For example, the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MIT) Scholarship Program, monitored by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, encourages academically talented minority students to pursue careers as teachers at non-profit Illinois pre, elementary, and secondary schools. The program awards up to $5,000 per year for a maximum of 8 semesters. If the teaching obligation is not fulfilled, the scholarship converts to a loan with a 5% interest rate and must be repaid.

To address a nursing shortage, The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority’s Nurse Scholars Program awards hundreds of aspiring nurses in North Carolina nursing programs. After graduation, award recipients must work as a registered nurse in the state of North Carolina.

Along with state-sponsored grants, apply for state scholarships. Some state scholarships require applicants to be a resident, or work in the state after graduation. Others only require that you attend a college/university in that state. Browse through our list of state scholarships to see what awards you qualify for. Try a free scholarship to also find awards based on other criteria.

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Last Reviewed: July 2020