Delaware Student Grants for College

Fund Your Education with Free Grant Money

Nestled in rustic New England, the state of Delaware abounds in natural and cultural beauty. As the first state in the nation, with a traceable history going back to the 15th century, it is also rich in history and heritage.  Delaware is home to 12 colleges and universities (including satellite campuses and Widener University’s School of Law), offering potential students a wide variety of institutions and paths of study from which to choose. And, recognizing the importance the education of younger generations will have on the future, Delaware helps make that goal more attainable through a multitude of grants and scholarships.

Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back. While the most commonly known and received grants are federal, there are a number of state grants designed to benefit students who demonstrate both academic excellence and financial need.

Delaware grants

Federal Grants

There are a number of Federal Grants, including the Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the TEACH Grant, and the  Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. To begin the application process, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The maximum Pell Grant for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012) was $5,550. The amount depends on your financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) gives priority to those students with “exceptional need” (those with the lowest Expected Family Contributions, or EFCs, at the institution) and those who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients.

The TEACH Grant helps students who plan to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area pay for college. The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.

If your parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan, you may be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

Academic Competitiveness Grants are available to students for their first and second academic years of college.  National SMART Grants are available to students for their third and fourth academic years of college. These are both merit based grants, focusing on math and science studies.

Delaware Higher Education Office

The Delaware Higher Education Office (DHEO) is a part of the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) and administers 23 state-sponsored financial aid programs and 6 private scholarship programs to help Delawareans continue their education after high school. Applicants for state-funded programs must be Delaware residents and U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens. A full listing of the programs are available on their website. Here’s a sampling of what is available:

Governor’s Education Grant for Working Adults

This grant awards up to $2000 each academic year. Schools accepting this grant are currently limited to not-for-profit Delaware-based institutions of higher education and adult education training programs at vocational-technical high schools. The grant is designed to assist under-employed working adult students seeking to acquire new or enhanced skills that will permit them to increase their earning potential in present or future employment.

Selection is based on need. The grant pays 65 percent of the tuition and fees (up to $2000 per year), the participating school pays 10 percent of the tuition and fee, and the student or employer pays the remaining 25 percent his or herself.

Governor’s Education Grant for Unemployed Workers

This grant is designed to assist unemployed adult students seeking to acquire new or enhanced skills that will permit them to re-enter the labor market. The maximum grant awarded for one year is $2000.

This grant is accepted at three Adult Education Centers: New Castle County Vo-Tech School District Adult Education Division, Polytech Adult Education and Sussex Tech Adult Division. It is also accepted at the Delaware College of Art and Design, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical and Community College, Goldey-Beacom College and Wilmington University.

The grant pays 80 percent of the tuition and fees (up to $2000 per year), the participating school pays 10 percent of the tuition and fees, and the student pays the remaining 10 percent his or herself.

Scholarship Incentive Program

Despite the name, the Scholarship Incentive Program is a grant. It is a need based grant of $700 ($1,000 for graduate students) and a merit supplement based on the student’s GPA. A minimum GPA of 2.5 gets no supplement, with up to$1,500 available for a 4.0 student, creating a maximum award of $2,200 for qualifying undergraduate students.

The award is not to exceed any direct educational expense, such as tuition and other fees. Summer sessions remain excluded. The applicant must be either a legal resident of Delaware or a US citizen, with demonstrated considerable need, by filling out the FAFSA. The student must be enrolled full-time at a non-profit, regionally accredited degree program at a college or university in Delaware or Pennsylvania.

All Delaware residents are automatically considered for this program if the federal processor has received his or her application by April 15. Because the Scholarship Incentive Program is a nonrenewable grant, students must submit their FAFSA reports by April 15 every year. If a student is denied the grant because the chosen program of study is offered at a public college, he or she may submit a Petition for Academic Program Portability in the spring.

Educational Benefits for Children of Deceased Veterans and Others

This grant pays tuition and fees for a qualifying student for up to four years. Awards are given in the following  priority sequence:

  1. tuition and fees at a public college in Delaware;
  2. tuition and fees at a private college in Delaware, if  the program of study is not offered at a Delaware public college; or
  3. tuition and fees at an out-of-state public or private college, if there is no institution in Delaware offering the program of study.

Award will be prorated for eligible students who choose to attend an institution that is out of this sequence.

The grant is intended to help students whose parents have died or been reported missing in action while in service to the state or country. The applicant must have been a Delaware resident for at least three consecutive years at the time of application as well as a U.S. citizen and be between 16 and 24 years old. At least one of his or her parents must have been a member of the armed force whose death was service related, was or is being held as a prisoner of war or officially declared missing in action. The parent may also be a state police officer whose death was service related or a state employee of the Department of Transportation whose cause of death was related to routine employment upon the state highway system. If the student applying has a parent who is a member of the armed forces, that parent must have been a Delaware resident at the time of death, declaration of missing in action or prisoner of war status.

The Delaware Scholarship Compendium

The DHEO publishes an annual compilation of scholarships and grants available to college-bound Delaware students. The free resource, called the Delaware Scholarship Compendium, lists several state financial aid programs and scholarship opportunities that provide assistance to upcoming Delaware college students.

The list covers a broad spectrum, offering aid based on need, merit, targeted profession, location and more.

Scholarships and Loan Forgiveness

Scholarships and loan forgiveness programs are other forms of “free” college aid worth exploring.  Scholarships have certain requirements the student must meet, and each varies depending on the benefactor. Amounts vary as well, but usually only cover tuition and similar costs. Loan forgiveness programs, such as the Nursing and Teaching Incentive Programs, will help pay for school (repay loans) in return for years of service after graduation.