Getting College Financial Aid as a Student in Delaware

Make Your Hard Work Pay Off

Delaware’s state legislature understands the importance of encouraging its residents to pursue a college education. The state’s governing body recognizes that a well educated populace is one of the keys to a vibrant and healthy local economy.

In an effort to make college more accessible to its residents and to reward the hard working students within its borders, Delaware offers a wide range of grants and scholarships designed to make a college education more affordable. These programs are a combination of need-based and merit-based awards, and are administered through Delaware’s Higher Education Office.

The FAFSADelaware financial aid

Before applying for any state-based financial aid, resident students in the great state of Delaware must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The information students supply on their FAFSA is used to determine their eligibility for any Federal or state sponsored financial aid for college. The FAFSA is also used by most colleges and universities, as well as the majority of independent scholarship sponsors, in determining a students eligibility for an award, and in setting the final award amounts. Resident students of the First State should make the FAFSA a top priority in their search for college funding.

General Scholarships and Grants

The state of Delaware offers a full range of general scholarships and grants for its resident college-bound students. These programs are a mix of merit-based and need-based awards, and are designed to help state residents cover tuition costs at participating state colleges and universities. A variety of general scholarships and grants are available to Delaware residents, including the following:

  • The Delaware Scholarship Incentive Program – This is a need-based award offered to legal residents of Delaware who are enrolled, or are preparing to enroll, full time at one of the state’s non-profit colleges or universities. To be eligible, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and must demonstrate the requisite level of financial need. The program is only open to eligible undergraduate students with a declared major. Award amounts range for $700 to $2200, and are determined by financial need and past academic performance.
  • The Governor’s Education Grant for Working Adults – The purpose of this program is to encourage under-employed working adults to return to college to obtain the skills they need to increase their earning potential. Applicants must be 18 years or older, and must have either graduated from high school or earned their GED. Full time college students are not eligible. The maximum annual award amount is $2000.
  • The Governor’s Education Grant for Unemployed Adults – Like the state grant for adult workers, this program is designed to encourage adults to return to school to obtain the skills they need to re-enter the state’s workforce. To be eligible, applicants must be 18 years of age or older, and must have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must also be registered with the state’s Department of Labor, and must be recommended by a DET counselor. The maximum annual award amount is $2000.
  • The B. Bradford Barnes Memorial Scholarship – This is a merit-based award named in honor of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives. The scholarship is offered to high school graduates who have ranked in the top 25% of their class, and who have scored a minimum of 1800 on their SATs. The scholarship is only offered to students who will be attending the University of Delaware or Delaware State University. This is a full tuition award, including books, room and board. Applicants must submit their high school transcripts, a 1200 word essay, and letters of recommendation.
  • The Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship – This merit-based scholarship is also only available to students attending the University of Delaware or Delaware State University. The award is offered to students who have graduated in the top half of their high school class, and who have scored a minimum of 1350 on their SAT. Applicants must have a declared major in the humanities of social sciences. This is a full tuition award, including all fees, books, room and board. The scholarship is renewable for up to three years.
  • The Diamond State Scholarship – This is a merit-based award open to all students who have graduated in the upper 25% of their high school class, and have an SAT score of no less than 1800. Fifty Diamond State Scholarships are awarded each year. The maximum award amount is $1250 per year.

These are only a sampling of the many state supported general scholarships and grants available to college-bound students in Delaware.

Financial Aid for Specialized Studies

In addition to the wide range of general scholarships and grants available to state residents, Delaware also offers a number of financial aid programs targeting students with very specific career goals. These programs address the need of the state to recruit and retain professionals in critical need areas such as healthcare and education. These are award-for-service programs, in which students receive full or partial loan forgiveness in exchange for a commitment to work within the state at their chosen profession for a predetermined term of service.

The state of Delaware currently offers the following career specific financial aid programs:

  • The Delaware Nursing Incentive Program – This program is open to undergraduate students enrolled full time in accredited program leading to certification as a licensed RN or LPN. Eligible students will receive a loan covering the full cost of their tuition. That loan will be eligible for forgiveness following graduation at a rate of one years employment in a state hospital for one year of loan moneys received.
  • The Delaware Teacher Corps – This program provides full tuition forgivable loans to students pursuing careers as teachers and educators. To be eligible, applicants must have graduated within the top 50% of their high school class and must have a minimum SAT score of 1750. Participants in the program must agree to teach a critical need subject at a state middle school or high school. Critical area subjects include science, mathematics, bilingual education, and special education. Participants in the program will receive one year of loan forgiveness in exchange for one year teaching in a Delaware public school.
  • The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals – The purpose of this program is to recruit and retain talented healthcare professionals within the state. The program is open to advanced healthcare professionals within the state who have outstanding federal and state loans. Eligible professionals include primary care physician, oncologists, general practice dentists, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and clinical psychologists. Participants may be eligible to receive between $35,000 and $70,000 in loan forgiveness in exchange for two years of service at a state healthcare facility.

Resident students of Delaware have access to some of the most impressive financial aid programs offered by any state in the country. The scholarships, grants and loan forgiveness programs discussed here are only the tip of the iceberg. Delaware residents looking for ways to fund their college education are encouraged to visit Delaware’s Higher Education Office for details on these and other financial aid programs.