Since state governments have a vested interest in assisting their residents with money for college, every state government offers grants and scholarships, which cost the college student nothing. Many states pride themselves on gathering funds for higher education, as part of an economic development strategy, and those funds are meted out annually to thousands of students just like you.
At the bottom of this page there is an A to Z list of individual states. You may use these to find the scholarship and grant programs for your home state. Here's what you must keep in mind when you dig into these resources…
Absolutely no state government scholarships or grants are available to you unless you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . You may file this form with the U.S. Department of Education online, and when you have completed that process you will find you can then apply for a range of low-cost and free student financial aid.
You must fill out the FAFSA form and file it with the federal government by the deadline, which will vary by state and school year. Your state government will work together with the federal government to utilize much of the same financial information contained on your FAFSA to make decisions about how to dole out various scholarships and grants for which you might qualify.
Understand that your state government scholarship and grant programs have their own deadlines that could be quite different from that of the FAFSA. In fact, every source, from the federal government to the state government to each and every college and university to which you'll apply, will have an individual deadline. Tip: keep a calendar clearly marked with all the critical deadlines you'll need to be better prepared to tackle college applications.
Your state may even have a specific deadline by which it requires you to have filed the FAFSA in order to meet various funding guidelines. You'll be expected to manage your time independently when you reach college, so begin with your financial planning to enhance your success: file the FAFSA as early as you can, certainly by the earliest deadline noted on your calendar.
Typically most state governments maintain gift aid that provides assistance to the widest range of students possible. Here are the main types of scholarships and grants you'll see while searching for state funds:
In general, state governments know one of the best ways to keep students studying and working within the state is to provide as much financial assistance to them as possible, provided they attend state schools. These tools are specifically used to encourage much-needed professional development. Student nurses – LPN, RN, undergraduate and graduate—can all locate monetary incentives very easily. The same is true for student teachers, particularly those willing to teach within a critical shortage area (usually math, science, or special education).
Remember, your state government provides some of the best free scholarship and grant money you can find. Visit your state's higher education website, where you'll find detailed information on each current program as well as applications and deadlines. Here is a sorted list of links to each state's higher education authority for your convenience:
Alabama College Scholarships
Montana College Scholarships