State grants are widely available and, while they may not necessarily pack the financial punch of federal grants, they can make a significant difference in filling out a student’s financial package.

Those going into helping professions like teaching and nursing have special opportunities to defray much of their college costs through state grants. If you are interested in pursuing teaching or nursing as a career—especially if you are willing to work in underserved rural areas or inner cities—then there are state grants for you.

Many of them will offer generous loan forgiveness packages. Be forewarned that if state grants help underwrite your college education and you don’t work in that profession you will often be required to pay back the grant in the form of a loan with interest.

Nursing is a particularly interesting opportunity for state grants. Nursing is the fastest growing profession in America and is expected to grow roughly twenty percent over the next decade. Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree will be in increasingly high demand and states that foresee a nursing shortfall will be more than willing to offer state grants to prospective nurses.

Those who want to go into teaching have some similar opportunities to tap into state grant programs. The demographics in the United States are changing and America continues to lag behind other developed nations in math and science. If this is your specialty there just may be state grants for you.

2.2 billion was dispersed last year through state grants to 1.63 million low income students. Non-need based state grants accounted for 255 million that went to 231,734 academic achievers.

Out-of-state tuition can be a burdensome financial issue for many students. Many states have found a creative way to address this problem through reciprocity agreements. They have agreements with other states to offer need-based assistance to out-of-state students.

A similar program is often available to military families and their children. For instance, if one of your parents is stationed in a state that is not your permanent residence, a student can go to college in that state without paying out-of-state tuition.

If you are in the process of applying for state grants it would be a good idea to write to your state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board and request that they send you an informational package. You can also access most of this information online.

Since many state’s use the same methodology as the federal government to determine if you are eligible for state grants you should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at the earliest possible date. This will determine what federal grants you may qualify for and, by extension, which state grants as well. If your household income is less than $41,000 a year you usually qualify for generous federal and state grants.

The best advice when it comes to state grants is to start the process early. If you do this and fill out all your forms with accurate information you will be sure to get all the state grants you qualify for.

With hundreds of thousands of American students already studying abroad there is no better time to catch the wave of study abroad scholarships.

Scholarships From the United Negro College Fund.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!