Paying for college can make even the most optimistic person feel overwhelmed. In addition to tuition, books and fees continue to rise. If that’s not enough, many students choose to live on campus. While many scholarships, loans and grants cover the costs of the actual education, there are still living expenses that need to be financed as well.
Campus housing comes in two (2) forms: on-campus housing (i.e., dormitories), and off-campus housing owned by the college or university (i.e., apartment complex owned specifically for student use). The average cost to live on-campus is $3,000 – $5,000 per semester, which generally includes a meal plan. Money specifically earmarked for housing is difficult to find and most funding comes from general grants.
Grants are funding provided on a federal or state level that are not required to be repaid. Many are based on financial need, but there are grants available that are based on merit as well. Every college or university has a financial aid office which provides students with information available on the grants available at their institution.
The majority of grants, whether they made at a federal or state level, are based on information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When applying for financial aid, students need to include all costs associated with their postsecondary education. According to schoolgrantsresource.com, “schools are required to provide you with a financial breakdown of costs including room and board.”
The granddaddy of all grants is the federal Pell Grant which can be used to pay housing costs. Eligibility for federal grants is as follows:
- Be a US citizen or eligible non citizen
- Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program
- Not in default on a federal loan or owe a refund for a federal grant
Once those requirements are met, the FAFSA can be completed. The Pell Grant offers a maximum award of $5,550 (for 2011). The award amount depends on:
- financial need
- costs to attend the institution (including housing)
- whether the student is full time or part time
- plans to attend for full academic year
The federal government also offers a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) which is available to those students with exceptional financial need. FSEOG awards range from $100 to $4,000 depending on when a student applies. The award is subject to the policies of the financial aid office at the school.
Most state grants are funded with help from the federal government and are considered State Student Incentive Grants (SSIG). These are generally available to students wishing to attend a school in state. There are grants available that can be used at any school or are given based on a reciprocity agreement between states. As with federal grants, state grants are paid directly to the institution and dispersed into the student’s account.
The list below provides general information on grants that can be used for housing by state.
- Alabama Student Assistance Program: This is a need based state/federal grant ranging from $300 to $2,500 per academic year. Undergraduate students who are Alabama residents attending eligible Alabama institutions are eligible. Application is made on the FAFSA.
- Alabama Student Grant Program: This is an award at an eligible independent Alabama college or university that is NOT based on need. Students can receive up to $1,200 per academic year provided full funding is available. Applications are available from the institution.
Additional information is available at www.ache.state.al.us
- AlaskAdvantage Education Grant: This is a need based grant available to eligible Alaska students attending a qualifying postsecondary educational institution in Alaska. A portion is set aside specifically as a priority award for applicants demonstrating “exceptional academic preparation for higher education” and for eligible applicants enrolled in specific programs as specified. Grants awarded range from $500 to $3,000 per academic year. Application is made on the FAFSA. See akadvantage.alaska.gov
- Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (AzLEAP): This grant establishes a state and institutional partnership to provide assistance in the form of need based grants to low-income, undergraduate Arizona resident students who have demonstrated substantial financial need on the FAFSA. The grant is awarded by the participating institution. While the maximum award is $2,500, the average is $1,000 per academic year. Information is available at www.azhighered.gov.
- Go! Opportunities Grant: Based on financial need, this grant is intended to help low income students complete their degree. The annual award is $1,000 for full time students with a lifetime maximum of $4,000. Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA. Students must be enrolled in a program that leads to a baccalaureate degree and can be renewed annually.
- Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarship (LEO): This provides an eight-semester scholarship to any state-supported college, university or technical institution in Arkansas to dependents of Arkansas residents as specified who were killed or permanently disabled in the line-of-duty. The award can be used to reimburse dormitory charges in campus-owned facilities. Dependent children must be less than 23 years of age on or before the first day of the semester/quarter.
Additional information for both grants can be found at www.adhe.edu
- Cal Grant A: There are two Cal Grant A awards: Entitlement and Competitive. Both grants assist with tuition and fees at public and independent colleges and some occupational and career colleges. Coursework must be for at least two (2) academic years.
- Cal Grant B: This grant provides a living allowance and tuition and fee assistance for low-income students. Coursework must be for at least one academic year.
- California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth: This is available to students who are or were in foster care and have financial need. Students may qualify for up to $5,000 per year for use at California colleges and universities as well as schools in other states. The grant is available to students who have not reached their 23rd birthday as of July 1st of the award year. The grant is renewable and cannot exceed the cost of attendance.
Information on Cal Grants is available at www.csac.ca.gov. Visit www.chafee.csac.ca.gov for information on the Chafee grant.
- Colorado Need-Based Awards: This includes the Colorado Student Grant and the Colorado Graduate Grant. They are available to qualified students with financial need as documented on the FAFSA.
- Dependent Tuition Assistance Program: This program is available to dependents of Colorado law enforcement officers, fire, or National Guard personnel killed or disabled in the line of duty and for dependents of POWs or service members listed as missing in action. Contact Margot Plotz at the address below for additional information.
Information is available at highered.colorado.gov and search on grants.
- CT Aid for Public College Students: Financial aid is available for a Connecticut resident attending a 2- or 4-year public college or university up to an amount of unmet financial need as demonstrated on the FAFSA.
- CT Independent College Student Grant Program: This is open to residents attending an eligible Connecticut independent college or university up to $8,166 per year. Awards are based on financial need as demonstrated on the FAFSA.
Visit www.ctdhe.org for additional information on both of these grants.
- Scholarship Incentive Program (ScIP): Open to legal residents of Delaware, money is awarded based on the need demonstrated on the FAFSA. Students must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program at a nonprofit, regionally accredited institution in Delaware or Pennsylvania or enrolled full-time at a non-profit, regionally accredited college in an undergraduate or graduate degree program that is not offered at the University of Delaware, Delaware State University or Delaware Technical & Community College. The award for graduate students is $1,000 per year and $700 to $2,200 per year depending on GPA. Additional information on ScIP can be found at www.doe.k12.de.us
- First Generation Matching Grant Program (FGMG): This grant is available to degree-seeking, resident, undergraduate students who demonstrate substantial financial need on the FAFSA and are enrolled in eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Students must be the first in their families to earn a baccalaureate degree. This program is administered by each university or college, rather than the state.
- Florida Student Assistance Grant Program (FSAG): This is a need based program available to degree-seeking, resident undergraduate students who demonstrate significant financial need on their FAFSA and are enrolled in a participating postsecondary institution. It is offered in conjunction with federal Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) funds.
Information on Florida’s grants is available at www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org
- Public Safety Memorial Grant: This non-need based grant provides funds to the dependent children of Georgia Public Safety Officers who were permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty. Funds can be used toward the cost of attendance at eligible postsecondary institutions in Georgia. Students must be residents of Georgia to be eligible.
- Georgia’s HOPE GED Grant: This grant is available to students who earned a GED awarded by the Technical College System of Georgia after June 30, 2003. The grant provides a one-time $500 HOPE award that can be used toward expenses at an eligible public technical college or public or private college or university. The HOPE grant must be used within 24 months of the date of receiving the GED. The application is included with the GED diploma.
Information on Georgia’s grants is available at secure.gacollege411.org
Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois and Indiana
These states offer grants covering the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- Iowa Grant: This grant is available to assist Iowa students attending Regent Universities, independent colleges and universities and community colleges in Iowa. Priority is given to students with the greatest financial need as demonstrated on the FAFSA. The maximum grant is $1,000 per year up to four (4) years of full-time, undergraduate study.
- All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant: Students who age out of Iowa’s foster care system, who are adopted after turning 16 or age out of a state training school may qualify. This grant can be used for both dorms and off-campus housing. Grant amounts range from $2,210 to $7,670 per year. Students must be between 18 and 23 years of age.
Visit www.iowacollegeaid.gov for additional information.
- Kansas Comprehensive Grant: Available to needy Kansas residents enrolled full-time at eighteen private colleges and universities in Kansas, the six state universities and Washburn University, this grant is also funded by Leveraging Educational Assistance Program (LEAP) federal funds. Need is based on data provided on the FAFSA. Approximately 1 in 3 eligible students are assisted annually. Students attending private institutions receive $200 to $3,500 and those attending public institutions receive $100 to $1,500 based on need. You can find additional information at www.kansasregents.org.
- College Access Program (CAP): This grant helps financially needy undergraduate students attend eligible public and private colleges, universities, proprietary schools and technical colleges. CAP Grants are awarded to Kentucky residents who are enrolled in programs that take at least two years to complete. The maximum grant for the 2011-2012 academic year was $1,900. The FAFSA is the application. Visit www.kheaa.com for additional information.
- State Matching Funds Grant: This is a need based grant with a maximum award of $2,000. Emphasis is placed on students with the greatest unmet need. The FAFSA must be filed. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and be certified as a full-time undergraduate student at an eligible institution. Information can be found at www.osfa.la.gov/LEAP.
- Louisiana Go Grant Program: This program provides need based funds to nontraditional and low to moderate income families who need additional aid to attend college. The maximum award for 2011-2012 was $1,000. Applicants must be a Louisiana resident, file the FAFSA and have received a Pell Grant or other needs based grant to qualify. Visit www.osfa.la.gov for information.
- State of Maine Grant Program: This program is need based and provides grants to undergraduate students. Any Maine resident who files a FAFSA is automatically considered. The awards vary on the type of institution the student attends and whether they attend full or part-time. Awards range from $250 to $1,250. The grant can be used at any eligible college or university in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont or the District of Columbia. Go to www.famemaine.com for additional information.
- Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access (GA) Grant: Students must be Maryland residents and be preparing to enroll in a two or four-year Maryland college or university as a full-time student. Applicants must be high school seniors. Students who graduated in a previous academic year must provide a letter stating why they did not attend college within one (1) year of their high school graduation. All applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The FAFSA must be filed and the grant amount equals 100% of the student’s financial need, with a minimum award of $400 and a maximum of $14,200. Continued demonstration of financial need must be made to renew the grant.
- Howard P. Rawlings Educational Access (EA) Grant: Current high school seniors and full-time, degree seeking undergraduates are able to apply for this grant. The FAFSA must be filed. Awards range from $400 to $3,000. As with the GA grant, students must be enrolled as a full-time student in a two or four-year Maryland college or university. The FAFSA must be filed each year to be considered for the EA Grant.
Information on both the GA and EA Grants can be found at www.mhec.state.md.us.
- Foster Child Grant Program: This program provides grants of up to $6,000 annually for up to 5 consecutive years for foster children to help pay for postsecondary education at any institution of higher learning throughout the continental US. Applicants must be permanent Massachusetts residents and be under age 24. The FAFSA must be filed to be considered. Students can contact their social worker or visit www.osfa.mass.edu for further information on the grant.
- Massachusetts Educational Rewards Grant Program: This grant is for low income workers who wish to receive education to transition into targeted high demand jobs. Students must be enrolled in an eligible program and be either a dislocated or incumbent worker who meets the requirements outlined in the statutes. The FAFSA must be filed to be considered. Awards range from $200 to $3,000. Additional information is available at www.osfa.mass.edu.
- Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program: Students who are dependents of permanent legal residents of Massachusetts and are a US citizen or eligible non citizen are eligible. Students must be enrolled full-time to be considered. Awards range from $200 to $2,500 each academic year. Additional information can be obtained from the financial aid office of the postsecondary institution.
- MASSGrant Program: Students applying for MASSGrant must file the FAFSA for consideration and be eligible for federal grant funds. Full time enrollment is required to be eligible for the grant and students must be permanent legal residents of Massachusetts. Additional information on the grant is available at www.osffa.mass.edu.
Michigan offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- Minnesota State Grant: This grant helps students pay for educational expenses at eligible Minnesota colleges or universities. Students apply for the grant on the FAFSA, and must be enrolled in their first undergraduate degree program. The average award is $1,627 each year. Additional information can be obtained at getreadyforcollege.org
Mississippi offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- MU Grant: Available only to undergraduates, this is an institutionally funded, need based grant awarded to those with significant financial need. Application is made with the FAFSA. Amounts range from $500 to $5,000 based on need and hours enrolled.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH): This grant is specifically for students who are working toward a degree in education and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. The grant awards up to $4,000 per year toward teacher education costs with a cumulative maximum of $16,000 for undergraduate students and $8,000 for graduate students. Recipients must agree to serve as full time teachers at certain schools and within certain fields for at least 4 academic years within 8 years of graduation.
Information on both of these grants can be found at financialaid.missouri.edu.
Montana offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- Nebraska Opportunity Grant (formerly Nebraska State Grant): The grant is available to students who are Nebraska residents that are attending a Nebraska postsecondary institution and demonstrate need on the FAFSA. The grant is awarded by the institution. Additional information is available at www.finaid.org or www.educationquest.org
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York
These states offer grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- NC Community College Grant: These grants are available to North Carolina residents who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled at a state community college. Eligibility is based on the same criteria as the federal Pell Grant so applicants must file the FAFSA to be considered. The value of the grant is determined by the information provided. Additional information regarding this grant can be found at www.ncccs.cc.nc.us.
- NC Legislative Tuition Grant Program (NCTLG): This grant is designed to assist residents meet the costs of tuition and related expenses. The NCTLG is for North Carolina students attending private colleges and universities. The award is based on financial need and was $1,850 for the 2010-2011 academic year. Additional information can be found at www.cfnc.org
- North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant Program (aka State Grant Program): The grant is available to first time undergraduates who attend North Dakota’s public, private and tribal colleges. The grant ranges from $800 to $1,500 per academic year. Students may reapply annually. Application is made on the FAFSA. Additional information can be found at www.ndus.edu
Ohio offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (OTEG): The OTEG is a need based grant awarded to Oklahoma residents enrolled as full-time undergraduates at qualified Oklahoma not-for-profit, private/independent institutions of higher education. Students must complete the FAFSA to apply. Family income must be $50,000 or less. Grant amounts are $2,000 per academic year. Go to www.okcollegestart.org for a list of schools that offer OTEG awards.
- Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG): The OTAG is a need based grant program for Oklahoma residents who attend eligible colleges, universities and career technical centers in Oklahoma. Application is made on the FAFSA. Applicants must have graduated from a public or private high school in Oklahoma to apply. Further information is available at www.okcollegestart.
- The Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG): The OOG is Oregon’s largest state funded need-based grant program for students wanting to attend college. Application is made by filing the FAFSA. Students must be Oregon residents working toward their first baccalaureate degree to be eligible. The award for the 2012-2013 academic year is $1,950.
- Pennsylvania State Grant: To be considered for the grant, students must demonstrate financial need on the FAFSA, be a high school graduate, and attend a postsecondary school approved by the PHEAA for grant purposes. Students must be enrolled in a program of at least 2 academic years in length. Additional information can be found at www.pheaa.org.
- Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program: This program provides a waiver of fees for tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board costs charged by public postsecondary institutions and is applied after all other aid. Students must be a Pennsylvania resident and by a child by birth or adoption of a law enforcement or other public safety employee as defined by state law. Application can be made on-line and requires additional documentation.
- Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grant Program: This grant provides funds to blind or deaf students attending a postsecondary institution. Recipients must be Pennsylvania residents, qualify to receive benefits through the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and be enrolled in a postsecondary institution and maintain satisfactory academic progress. The maximum grant is $500. Application information is available at www.pheaa.org.
- State Grant Program: This grant is for those students whose family resources are unable to cover the costs of higher education. Applicants must file the FAFSA, a Rhode Island resident and enrolled or accepted in a program that leads to a degree or certificate. Information is available at www.riheaa.org.
- Academic Promise Program: This program awards up to $2,500 per year for a maximum of 4 years for enrollment in an undergraduate program that leads to a degree or certification. The award is given only to graduating high school seniors and applicants must complete the FAFSA for consideration. Additional information is available at www.riheaa.org.
- S.C. Need-based Grant Program: This grant provides additional financial aid to the state’s neediest students. Students pursuing their first degree and enrolled full-time can receive up to $2,500 per year if enrolled at an eligible S.C. public institution. Students must complete the FAFSA. Additional information is available at www.che.sc.gov.
- LIFE Scholarship Program: The Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) is a merit-based program which can be used toward the cost of attendance for up to 8 semesters at eligible institutions. It is administered by each institution. Students must be enrolled in their first degree program. Additional information is available at www.che.sc.gov or by contacting the institution’s financial aid office.
South Dakota, Tennessee
South Dakota and Tennessee offer grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- TEXAS Grant: The Towards EXcellence, Access, and Success (TEXAS) grant assists well-prepared high school graduates with financial need attend college. Students must be Texas residents and be a graduate of an accredited Texas high school, enrolled in a non-profit public college or university in Texas within 16 months of graduating, and have accumulated no more than 30 semester credit hours excluding those obtained by CLEP, AP or IB. Alternately, students with an associates degree seeking their baccalaureate may apply. Awards range from $1,890 to $7,100 each year. Application is made on the FAFSA. Additional information is available at www.collegeforalltexans.com.
- Final Stretch Grant Program: This grant is available to students who have completed 60 hours toward a degree and is for summer class enrollment only. Students must be a Texas resident and be eligible to receive Pell Grant funds. The FAFSA must be filed. The award is $2,000 for the summer semester and is on a first come, first served basis. For additional information visit www.collegeforalltexans.com.
Utah offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- Vermont Incentive Grant: This grant is for Vermont residents enrolled full-time (12 or more credits per term) that have been accepted or are enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program and do not hold a bachelor’s degree unless they are attending veterinary or medical school. Schools participating in the Pell Grant program qualify for this grant. The amount varies based on financial need as determined on the FAFSA.
- Tuition Assistance Grant Program: The VTAG is open to Virginia residents who attend accredited private, non-profit colleges in Virginia for other than religious training or theological education. Applications are available at the financial aid office of the institution. Information is available at www.schev.edu/students.
- State Need Grant (SNG): The SNG helps low-income students pursue undergraduate degrees or retrain for new careers. Grants must be used at eligible institutions in Washington. To be eligible, students must file the FAFSA, be a Washington resident and be pursuing their first degree. Information on the SNG can be found at www.hecb.wa.gov.
West Virginia offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
- Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG): This grant is available to students attending the UW System, Wisconsin Technical Colleges and Tribal Colleges that are residents of Wisconsin and enrolled as an undergraduate. Applications are based on financial need as demonstrated on the FAFSA. Awards range from $250 to $3,000 per year.
- Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant: The TIP grant is available to first time freshmen entering the UW System, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, Independent Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges. Students must be nominated to receive the award, which ranges from $600 to $1,800 initially. FAFSA must be filed. Contact Colette Brown for additional information at the address shown.
- Indian Student Assistance Grant: This grant is available to Wisconsin residents who are at least 25% Native American who are undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in degree or certificate programs in the UW System, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, Independent Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Proprietary (for-profit) Schools. Awards are made based on financial need as demonstrated on the FAFSA and awards $250 to $1,100 with a limit of 10 semesters of eligibility. Contact Cindy Cooley at the address below for additional information.
- Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant: This grant is available to minority residents of Wisconsin attending Wisconsin Technical Colleges, Independent Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges. Application is made by filing the FAFSA and nomination of the Financial Aid Office. A maximum award of $2,500 is given per year for up to eight semesters or twelve quarters. Contact Deanna Schulz at the address below for additional information.
- Hearing & Visually Impaired Handicapped Student Grant: This grant is available to students with severe or profound hearing or visual impairment and provides up to $1,800 per year up to ten semesters. Some out of state schools are considered eligible for this grant. The FAFSA and a grant application must be completed. Contact Cindy Cooley at the address below for additional information.
All Wisconsin grant information can be found at heab.state.wi.us.
Wyoming offers grants that cover the cost of tuition and fees only. Contact the college or university for specific grant information for housing.
As with all financial aid, students should check with the Financial Aid Office of the college or university for eligibility and additional filing requirements. Also, many institutions offer programs that cover room and board costs with on-campus work programs. A little research can go a long way to help fund housing costs.
College Grant Information By State