State Specific Scholarships: A Resource List

Find Your Home State or the State Where You Will Attend College

Most college students rely on some form of financial aid to bridge the affordability gap of higher education.  Loans, grants and scholarships originate from a variety of sources, including  government entities, philanthropic foundations, private corporations, institutions of higher education (IHE) and individually funded endowments. 

As you craft your college financing package, it is important to draw from all the resources that are available to help you pay for school. If you have not checked into specific scholarships offered by your home state, then you may be leaving valuable financial aid resources on the table.

The federal financial aid pool runs deep, so start your quest with a timely filed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Filing the form gets the ball rolling on a variety of federal programs, but FAFSA results are also used by individual colleges to match students with other forms of qualified student aid. In fact, some states use the FAFSA as a universal application for state-based aid.  The federal FAFSA filing deadline, June 30th, may not be the same as your state’s individual filing deadline - consult with your financial aid office or state department of higher education for specifics.  Remember, your FAFSA can be submitted any time after January 1st – and it makes sense to file early. Be prepared to submit additional materials as may be required by your home state.

state based scholarships for college

Most scholarship awards are merit-based, so qualifying for state-specific aid may require outstanding performance in academics or athletics. Each student’s level of financial need is significantly considered by scholarship granting agencies, so you may be eligible even if you are not a stand-out student.  Individual state governments put forth unique approaches to financial aid administration, so eligible state students may be required to submit state-specific financial aid applications, essays and transcripts. Professional organizations, colleges, advocacy groups and prominent in-state companies each initiate student scholarships with unique eligibility requirements attached.  These public and private scholarships share a common focus on in-state schools and state resident college students.

Popular State-Specific Scholarships

Popular state scholarship categories often mirror those present at the federal level.  Shared educational objectives at each level of government promotes local programs that support national efforts, and some state financial aid dollars are actually matched through federal initiatives. Widespread state scholarships are issued within diverse student categories like these:

  • State scholarships for academically talented students are often funded by state lottery profits and property tax contributions.  Low-income students who excel in secondary school qualify for state-subsidized education scholarships that reward good grades and civic participation.
  • Scholarships for unique student populations – Minorities, women and students with physical or intellectual disabilities are eligible for special classes of state scholarships that are designed to lift-up particular student groups and increase access to higher education for under represented segments of the student body. Merit scholarships for minorities reward high-achievers who come from ethnically diverse backgrounds.  African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Native American students are targeted for state-specific scholarships that consider economic status alongside academic performance. College students who are the first in their families to advance to post-secondary education benefit from state-sponsored first-in-family scholarship programs that foster educational mobility among first-time college families.  Single parents, especially disadvantaged women, are eligible for college scholarships that help them start or return to college.
  • Career-specific state scholarships - Companies fund scholarships that help educate subsequent generations of industry professionals.  Within your academic major, you’ll find tailor-made funding resources that are only available to other students in your field of study.  For example, students pursuing educational credentials related to emerging technology are rewarded with special scholarships designed to bolster innovation and scientific advancement.  Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarships are originated by state governments and forward-thinking private funding sources. Corporate funded state scholarships also open doors to internships and long-term employment.
  • State scholarships support students pursuing high-need fields of study.  Scholarships for nurses and student teachers represent public and private efforts to recruit students into particular professions.  When vocational demand outstrips the supply of qualified graduates, generous free-money programs provide attractive financial aid packages for students willing to fill high-need employment roles. Scholarship-for-service agreements provide student assistance that is repaid through work commitments following graduation.
  • Scholarships for non-traditional students and community college enrollees provide assistance for less conventional approaches to higher education; including financial aid for adult students who are balancing educational responsibilities with work and family commitments.

Successful state-specific scholarships taken directly from our state resources:

The state of Oregon administers Ford Family Foundation Scholarships, which benefit resident college students who meet program requirements.  The awards recognize a wide cross-section of students, from diverse backgrounds, but are particularly oriented toward non-traditional applicants and community college students.

New Mexico’s Legislative Lottery Scholarships make a difference in higher education by awarding 100% tuition scholarships that are renewable for 8 consecutive semesters.  Since its inception, the program has helped more than 75,000 students attend New Mexico public colleges.

Texas Interscholastic League Foundation helps Texas students who participate in University Interscholastic League meets.  The organization disburses over one million state scholarship dollars annually, to outstanding academic achievers and stand-out musical artists.

Browse your state page and begin to uncover specific college scholarships that are right for you. It’s that easy.

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If you are considering a school located in a United States territory, start with these contacts to uncover scholarship opportunities.

American Samoa Community College
Board of Higher Education
P.O. Box 2609
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799-2609
(684) 699-9155

American Samoa Government
Department of Education
P.O. Box D.O.E.
Pago Pago, American Somoa 96799
(684) 633-5237

University of Guam
303 University Drive
Mangilao, Guam 96923
(671) 734-4469

Northern Marianas College
P.O. Box 1250
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands 96950
(670) 234-6128

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
State Board of Public Education
Public School System
P.O. Box 1370, CK
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands 96950
(670) 322-6402

Council on Higher Education
Box 23305 – UPR Station
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931
(809) 758-3350

Department of Education
P.O. Box 759
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00919
(809) 753-2200

Virgin Islands Joint Boards of Education
Charlotte Amalie, P.O. Box 11900
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00801
(809) 774-4546

Virgin Islands Department of Education
Office of Federal Programs
No. 44-46 Kongens Gade, Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802
(809) 774-0100

Federated States of Micronesia – FM
1725 N. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 223-4383

Republic of the Marshall Islands
RMI Scholarship Grant and Loan Board
P.O. Box 1436
3 Lagoon Road
Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960
(692) 625-3108

Republic of Palau
Ministry of Education Bureau
P.O. Box 9
Koror, Republic of Palau, TT 96940
(680) 488-1003


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