You may not like it every time you buy something and the state tacks on that extra 4 to 8 percent in sales tax. But you can take some consolation in the fact that you could get back some of these dollars through financial aid programs offered by your state. Every state has an agency that helps students pay for college. Many also administer their own centralized financial aid and scholarship programs.
This guide will walk you through the various ways to tap your own state government for money. Hopefully, you'll feel a little better the next time you pay your state taxes!
Your first step is to find your state agency from the Department of Education's web site at https://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html. Once you find your state's agency, visit their web site to learn about a variety of assistance programs, including scholarships offered by the state. You can also contact the agency directly by phone.
Whether you are surfing their web site or speaking to an actual person, your goal is to learn about all of the opportunities available to you. Every state operates differently and not all have the same programs. However, in general, when you approach your state agency for higher education, you should ask about the programs outlined in the next steps...read on!
Many states award their own state scholarships and grants. Make sure you understand how the scholarships work, who is eligible and if you need to apply by a certain deadline. Depending on your state, there may be grants that are specific to certain students. These grants can vary, offering assistance to a wide range of students, including adult students, students who recently received their GED, vocational and technical school students and, of course, undergraduate and graduate school students. Some of these grants will be need-based while others are founded on criteria that is unrelated to your financial situation. In some cases, all you need to do is file an application to claim your money.
As a clearinghouse for all things related to paying for college, many state agencies also maintain a list of private scholarships that are available to students. On some of the state web sites we have found invaluable information, including lists of all local civic groups that award scholarships.
Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.
By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Learn how to go back to school without going broke. This is the only book that shows you how to find the best scholarships for adult students, get your employer to pay, have your student loans forgiven and much more.