State Financial Aid

Overview

State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

States provide different types and amounts of aid to undergraduate students for postsecondary education. Financial aid typically falls under three categories – merit-based, need-based and non-grant-based. Merit aid is awarded to high performing students. Need-based aid is usually reserved for low-income students and non-grant aid includes loan and work study programs. Most SREB states allocate more funding to merit-based aid. (Updated August, 2017)

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Alabama
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The Alabama Student Assistance Program provides need-based aid. Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Award amounts range from $300 to $5,000 per academic year. Recipients with qualifying Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) may use the reward at nearly 80 postsecondary institutions in Alabama.

The Alabama Student Grant Program provides up to $1,200 annually for students attending nonpublic institutions. The program does not require applicants to demonstrate academic merit or financial need.

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Arkansas
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state lottery funds the merit-based Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program. Applicants may qualify for the scholarship if one of three ways: high school GPA, assessment scores, or college freshman GPA.

Recent graduates may qualify with a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or an ACT Composite score of at least 19. . Full-time college students may earn the merit scholarship if they receive a first-semester GPA of at least 2.5 or produce an ACT composite score of at least 19. Academic Challenge Scholarship recipients must maintain a 2.5 GPA earn 15 credits each semester to continue receiving aid.

Students will receive scholarship renewals until they reach one of the following milestones: attempting 120 credits, earning a baccalaureate degree, or receiving eight semesters of funding.

Recipients may regain the scholarship if they meet the GPA and credit completion requirements within the same academic year that they became ineligible.

The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board revised award amounts beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year. Freshmen at all eligible postsecondary institutions now receive $1,000 per academic year. The award increases to $4,000 for sophomores and juniors. Seniors who maintain the award for three academic years receive a $5,000 award during their final year. Second-year students at community and technical colleges receive a $3,000 award.

The Arkansas Future Grant Program provides grants for students enrolled in qualifying certificate and associate degree programs. Recipients receive funding for five semesters or until they attain an associate degree. While in their program, recipients must meet regularly with a mentor and complete at least 15 hours of community service per semester.

Graduates must work in the state for at least three years. The grant converts into an interest-bearing loan if recipients do not meet the job requirement or leave the state. 

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Delaware
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The Scholarship Incentive Program provides financial aid to residents with demonstrated financial need. First-time applicants must possess a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, enroll full-time at an in-state, nonprofit postsecondary institution, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In certain cases, students may enroll out-of-state if degree programs are not offered at the state’s three public institutions.

First-time freshmen receive $1,000 awards.

Each year, students may re-apply for financial aid if they complete the FAFSA and maintain a college GPA of 2.5. Students receive up to $1,500 in merit-based supplements if they maintain GPAs above 2.75. The maximum 2017-18 award is $2,200.

Students attending Delaware Technical Community College or enrolled in the Associate in Arts program through University of Delaware are eligible for the SEED scholarship. The grant is a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition costs after deducting financial aid from all sources. First-time applicants must graduate from a Delaware high school with a 2.5 GPA and complete the FAFSA. Once enrolled, students must maintain a college GPA of 2.5

The state also funds a scholarship for eligible Delaware State University students called the INSPIRE scholarship. First-time applicants must graduate from a Delaware high school with a 2.75 GPA and complete a FAFSA. Once enrolled, students must maintain a college GPA of 2.75. The maximum award annual award is $3,000.

The Delaware Higher Education Office administers professional incentive programs for undergraduate students who pledge to enter teaching or nursing.

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Florida
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state lottery funds the merit-based Bright Futures Scholarship Program. Recent high school graduates may qualify for one of four awards.

For the Academic, Medallion, and Gold Seal Vocational awards, students must earn a standard Florida high school diploma, complete the required high school courses with a minimum qualifying GPA, enroll for at least six semester credits, and complete the community service requirement.

Applicants for the Academic and Medallion scholarships may use two additional high school units drawn from core academic areas and world languages, as well as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses to raise their GPAs to meet the initial eligibility requirements.   

The Florida Legislature created the Gold Seal CAPE (GSC) Vocational Scholars award in 2016. The grant provides funding for students who earn a minimum of five postsecondary credits through industry certifications. Gold Seal Vocational and CAPE scholars must use their award to enroll in a certificate or career education program. GSC recipients may receive additional aid to pursue a baccalaureate degree if they complete an Associate in Applied Science program.       

The Benacquisto Scholarship Program provides aid to National Merit Finalists who attend one of six public postsecondary institutions. The last-dollar scholarship covers the cost of attendance after deducting the student’s Bright Futures and National Achievement scholarships. Aid is renewable if students meet minimum credit completion requirements and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

The Florida Student Assistance Grant Program provides aid to resident students attending nonpublic postsecondary institutions.

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Georgia
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state lottery funds the merit-based HOPE Program.

Georgia residents graduating with regular diplomas may receive HOPE Scholarships by earning a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 in core academic subjects. College students may earn a HOPE scholarship if they have a qualifying GPA of 3.0 at the 30, 60, or 90 semester hour milestones. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 college GPA to remain eligible for the HOPE scholarship.

The Zell Miller Scholarship awards aid to students who (1) graduate from HOPE-qualifying high schools as the class valedictorian or salutatorian or (2) possess a minimum 3.7 GPA with 1200 SAT (26 ACT). The Zell Miller Scholarship varies based on institution and whether the student attends college part time or full time. Recipients must maintain a 3.3 college GPA to retain the scholarship.

Current seniors who apply for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships must complete four full credits from any of following Academic Rigor categories: advanced math, science, foreign language, or special core-academic courses (i.e., Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Dual Enrollment courses).

Students may receive either a HOPE or a Zell Miller Scholarship, but not both. Students who become academically ineligible for either scholarship have only one chance to regain it. Neither scholarship covers textbooks or institutional fees. Students may receive aid until they complete 127 credit hours, earn a baccalaureate degree, or seven years have elapsed since high school graduation.

Students enrolled certificate  and diploma programs at public institutions may receive the HOPE Grant if they earned a minimum high school GPA of 2.0.

Students may earn the Zell Miller Grant to pursue certificate or diploma programs at eligible public postsecondary institutions. To retain the grant, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA at the end of each term.

HOPE and Zell Miller grant recipients may also be eligible for the HOPE Career Grant, which provides prorated aid for students pursuing credentials in one of 12 eligible career fields.

All aid amounts, except for the HOPE Career Grant, vary based on institution that students are attending and the number of credit-hours for which they are enrolled. 

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Kentucky
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), a merit aid program.

The program provides financial support for state residents based on their academic performance throughout high school. The value of the award increases for each year of high school in which a student maintains a 2.5 or higher GPA in the Pre-College Curriculum.

Students may earn a Bonus Award based on their ACT or SAT composite scores.

Students who were eligible for free or reduced-priced meals at any time during high school may earn Supplement Awards based on their performance on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge Advanced International exams. 

First-time recipients  receive a scholarship equivalent to the base, bonus, and supplement award amounts

Students may renew their full scholarship award if they maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students can receive half of the award amount if they fall below the 3.0 GPA threshold but maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Students may regain the scholarship if they meet renewal criteria by the end of the spring semester.

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Louisiana
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds the merit-based Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS). Recent high school graduates may qualify for one of four awards.

Students may qualify for the Opportunity Award with a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and ACT Composite score of 20 or higher. To renew the award at the end of freshman year, students must maintain a 2.3 GPA. To renew the award in subsequent years, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.5. The award is equal to tuition.

Students may qualify for the Performance Award with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and ACT Composite score of 23 or higher. To renew the award after each academic year, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Eligible students receive a tuition award plus a $400 stipend.

Students may qualify for the Honors Award with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and ACT Composite score of 27 or higher. To renew the award after each academic year, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Eligible students receive a tuition award plus a $800 stipend.

The TOPS Tech Award provides tuition grants for students attending two-year institutions. Students may qualify for the award with a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and ACT Composite score of 17 or higher. Students must complete one of two curricular pathway options offered by the state.

Recipients must complete at least 24 credit hours annually to remain eligible for their award. The Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission evaluates continued eligibility at the end of each academic year. Students may regain their scholarship if they meet GPA requirements at the end of the subsequent academic year.

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Maryland
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds four need-based grant programs. All programs require applicants to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Guaranteed Access and Educational Assistance Grants require applicants to enroll as degree-seeking, full-time students. Both grants are last-dollar scholarships, which calculate financial need by taking the cost of attendance and subtracting aid from other sources (e.g., Expected Family Contribution, Pell Grants, and other state aid).

Students may not receive the Guaranteed Access and Educational Assistance Grants simultaneously. Students who do not meet the March 1 deadline for filing the FAFSA may apply for the Campus-Based Educational Assistance Grant. The requirements are identical to the Educational Assistance grant.

Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, recipients of the Guaranteed and Educational Access grants must complete at least 30 credits by the end of their second enrollment year and each academic year thereafter. Students completing between 24 and 29 credits will receive a prorated grant award.

Guaranteed Access grant recipients may qualify for a matching grant if they attend an eligible nonpublic Maryland institution.

Community college students who earn an associate degree and have an Expected Family Contribution of less than $10,000 qualify for the Transfer Grant, which provides scholarships of $1,000. Transfer Grant recipients enrolled in science, teaching, engineering, computer science, mathematics, or nursing programs receive annual awards of $2,000.

The Maryland Part-Time Grant provides awards ranging from $200 to $2,000 per year for students enrolled in six to 11 credits per semester.

Any combination of multiple state awards may not exceed $19,000 per year.

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Mississippi
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds three merit-based grant programs: the Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant, Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant, and the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP).  Students may qualify for the Resident Tuition Assistance Grant with a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and ACT Composite score of 15 or higher (810 SAT). The maximum award is $500 for freshmen and sophomores and $1,000 for juniors and seniors.

National Merit Finalist and Semifinalists may qualify for the Eminent Scholars Grant with a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 and ACT Composite score of 29 or higher (1350 SAT). The maximum award is $2,500 per academic year.

Students may qualify for the HELP Grant if they demonstrate financial need, graduate with a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, and produce a minimum ACT Composite score of 20 (1020 SAT). The standard award covers tuition and fees at public institutions.

All three grant programs require the completion of 15 credits per semester and the maintenance of initial GPA requirements.

Mississippi Senate Bill 2956 (2017) allows students to receive only one state grant starting in fall 2017. Also, the act requires the review of continuing eligibility every semester, instead of at the end of each academic year. 

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North Carolina
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds four need-based grant programs. Award amounts vary based the level of financial need and the type of institution attended. All programs calculate financial need using income data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but the UNC Need-Based Grant does not use the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) metric to determine need.

The Education Lottery Scholarship provides grants to students who attend public institutions, enroll in at least six credits per semester, and have an EFC under $5,000. Annual amounts range from $115 to $3,130.

The Community College Grant provides grants to students who enroll in at least six credits per semester and have an EFC under $8,500. Annual award amounts range from $150 to $1,800.

The UNC Need-Based Grant provides grants to students who enroll in at least six credits per semester. Annual award amounts range from $500 to $4,200.

The North Carolina Need-Based Scholarship provides grants to students attending nonpublic institutions who enroll in at least nine credits per semester. Annual award amounts range from $2,000 to $7,100.

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Oklahoma
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds three need-based grant programs and provides a limited number of merit-based grants under the Academic Scholars Program. Applicants for need-based programs must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).Eighth, ninth and tenth-grade students are eligible for the Oklahoma Promise Scholarship. Students may qualify for the grant if they complete the 17-unit core curriculum with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and participate in Promise activities. At program enrollment, parental income must be under $55,000. At college enrollment, parental incomes shall not exceed $100,000. Award amounts vary based on the institution and credit-hour enrollment.

Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, students will receive aid each year only if parental incomes stay under $100,000.

The Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant provides financial assistance to high school students. Maximum qualifying Expected Family Contribution scores vary based on the number of applications received. Students at public institutions receive a maximum annual award of $1,000. Recipients attending nonpublic institutions receive a maximum award of $1,300.

The Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant provides financial aid to high school seniors and current college students attending nonpublic institutions if their family income is under $50,000. The maximum award is $2,000.

The state awards Academic Scholars Program grants to automatic and institutional qualifiers. Automatic recipients qualify through their designation as National Merit Scholars, National Merit Finalists, or United States Presidential Scholars, or by scoring at or above the 99.5 percentile on the ACT or SAT. Participating postsecondary institutions may nominate institutional qualifiers. Award amounts vary by institution. Recipients attending public institutions are eligible to receive a tuition waiver in addition to the grant award.

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South Carolina
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds five financial aid programs. The three largest programs provide merit-based aid.  Students may accept only one of the merit-based scholarships, even if they meet eligibility requirements for multiple awards.

Students may qualify for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Award by meeting one of the following set of criteria: (1) 1200 SAT or 27 ACT, 3.5 GPA and Top 6% Class Rank or (2) 1400 SAT or 32 ACT and 4.0 GPA. Freshmen may receive annual awards up to $6,700. In future years, college students may receive annual awards up to $7,500 if they maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA.

Students may qualify for the LIFE Scholarship by meeting two of three following criteria: (1) 1100 SAT or 24 ACT, (2) 3.0 GPA, and/or (3) Top 30% Class Rank. Students may receive a maximum award of $5,000 award and $300 book stipend if they maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA.

Students who do not qualify for the Palmetto or LIFE Scholarships may receive the South Carolina HOPE Scholarship with a high school GPA of 3.0.

The state’s Uniform Grading Policy calculates high school GPA based on a 0.0 to 6.0-point scale.

Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and earn at least 30 credit hours at the end of each academic year to remain eligible. Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholars may receive an additional $2,500 enhancement in their second, third, or fourth year if they enroll in certain math and science majors (e.g., computer science, engineering, nursing, pharmacy). Freshmen must complete at least fourteen credits in math and science subjects to receive the enhancement. 

The HOPE Scholarship is a freshmen-only award. Recipients may qualify to receive the LIFE scholarship in subsequent years if they maintain a 3.0 college GPA.

The South Carolina Need-Based Grant Program provides annual awards up to $2,500 for students with demonstrated financial need. Students remain eligible if they maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA at the end of each academic year.

The Lottery Tuition Assistance Program provides supplemental aid for students enrolled at the University of South Carolina’s two-year campuses and Spartanburg Methodist College. The maximum annual award is $2,280. The program does not award grants based on merit or need.

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Tennessee
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds several scholarships and grants through the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) Program.

The Tennessee HOPE scholarship provides merit-based aid to recent high school graduates who attended approved Tennessee public or independent institutions. Students must have a score of 21 on the ACT (or 1060 SAT) or a 3.0 weighted high school GPA. Students must maintain a 2.75 college GPA to renew the HOPE scholarship for the first 48 credit-hours attempted and a 3.0 GPA to renew after 72 credit-hours attempted. The maximum annual award is $3,500 for freshmen and sophomores. The annual maximum award for juniors and seniors is $4,500.

HOPE scholars may qualify for supplemental awards, including the General Assembly Merit Scholarship and the need-based ASPIRE Award.

The General Assembly Merit Scholarship provides up to $1,500 per year if HOPE Scholars score at least 29 on the ACT Composite (or 1350 SAT) and earn a weighted high school GPA of 3.75.

The ASPIRE Award provides up to $1,500 per year if the adjusted gross income of HOPE Scholars, their parents, or spouses (if applicable) is less than $36,000, as measured by the federal IRS formula.

The HOPE Access Grant provides financial aid to students who earn a 2.75 weighted high school GPA, score at least an 18 on the ACT (or 940 on the SAT) and have an annual household income of $36,000 or less. While the HOPE Access Grant expires after one academic year, students can receive the HOPE scholarship if they maintain a 2.75 GPA for their first two semesters of college. The maximum award for the non-renewable grant is $2,500.

The Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, also part of TELS Program, is available to Tennessee residents who attend one the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology.

The state also manages two grant programs outside of the TELS framework. Tennessee graduates who qualify for the Federal Pell Grant and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) under $2,100 can receive additional aid through the Tennessee Student Assistance Award. Funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Tennessee Promise Scholarship is a last-dollar award, meaning the program covers the remaining portion of tuition and fees after deducting proceeds from for federal and state aid sources. Recipients may use the award to pursue certificates, technical diplomas, and associate degrees.

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Texas
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds four need-based grant programs. Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial need. To retain their award, recipients must complete 75% of credits hours attempted and maintain minimum GPAs. 

The TEXAS Grant provides need-based aid to eligible students who enroll at Texas public universities within sixteen months of high school graduation, whose Expected Family Contribution is less than $5,430, and who successfully complete the Foundation, Recommended, or Distinguished Achievement high school diploma. Students who have earned an associate degree, transfer to a four-year institution with at least 24 credit hours and a GPA of 2.5 or higher may also be eligible.

Effective fall 2014, community and technical college students are no longer eligible to award initial year TEXAS Grants.

Students also may qualify for the TEXAS grant through one of the following alternative routes:

  • Earn an associate degree from in-state college and enroll in an eligible institution within 12 months
  • Enlist in the military within 12 months of high school graduation and enroll in eligible institution within 12 months of honorable discharge
  • Transfer into a public university after earning at least 24 semester credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Eligible students must hold the initial Texas Education Opportunity Grant.

Students receive priority consideration for TEXAS Grant awards if they met the basic requirements, apply before the state priority deadline, and satisfy at least two of the following requirements:

  • Advanced Coursework: Earn course credit in math course beyond Algebra II or at least one advanced career and technical course.
  • Advanced Programs: Complete 12 hours of college credit, the Distinguished Achievement Program, or the International Baccalaureate Program.
  • Class Standing: Graduate in top third of high school class or have ‘B’ average
  • Readiness Benchmarks: Demonstrate readiness by meeting the Texas Success Initiative assessment thresholds or qualify for TSI exemption through another qualifying test (e.g., ACT, SAT, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).
  • To receive the first renewal TEXAS award, students must meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements. Subsequent awards require students maintain the cumulative 2.5 GPA.

The Texas Educational Opportunity Grant provides need-based aid to students at two-year institutions who have earned less than 30 college credits and whose Expected Family Contribution is less than $5,430.

Recipients of the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant remain eligible for aid for four years, until they complete 75 semester credits, or earn an associate degree, whichever comes first. Award amounts vary by institutional category and credit-hour enrollment.

The award amounts for the TEXAS and Education Opportunity Grants vary by institution type.

Texas will not fund a freshman-year award for Top 10% Plan students for the 2017-18 academic year. However, eligible students may receive an annual renewal award of up to $2,000 if they earn 30 credits per year and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25.

The Texas Tuition Equalization Grant provides financial aid to students attending nonpublic institutions. Eligible students may receive an annual award of up to $3,364 if they earn 24 credits per year and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5.

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Virginia
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

The state funds five major grant programs.

Virginia’s public institutions provide the Virginia Commonwealth Award, a need-based grant, to eligible students. The state funds the program through legislative appropriations. While institutions choose award amounts, state law requires that institutions award aid in such a way that the students with the greatest need receive the largest awards. To apply for the award, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Public institutions also may award the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program, which provides financial aid to full-time students who demonstrate financial aid and  graduate from high school with GPAs of a cumulative GPA of 2.5. In order to renew aid, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and demonstrate continued financial need.

Students who earn associate degrees may qualify for the Two-Year College Transfer Grant. The base award provides $1,000 per year to students who completed their associate degree at a Virginia community college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, enroll full-time in a four-year institution, and have an Expected Family Contribution of $12,000 or less. Students enrolled in science, teaching, engineering, math or nursing fields are eligible to receive an additional $1,000 per year.

The New Economy Workforce Credential Grant pays two-thirds of the cost of enrolling in a high-demand, industry certification program. The program requires students to receive an industry-based certification or state licensure to avoid repaying an additional portion of training costs.

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program provides financial aid for students attending in- state, nonpublic institutions. The maximum 2017-18 award is $3,300.

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West Virginia
State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

West Virginia awards financial aid based on academic merit, financial need, and intended career.

The primary financial aid program is the merit-based West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship

High school graduates qualify for aid if they meet two requirements: (1) cumulative 3.0 GPA in PROMISE core and overall  coursework; and (2) an ACT composite score of at least 22, with minimum scores of 20 in each subject (or equivalent SAT scores).

First-year PROMISE recipients may renew their award if they maintain full-time enrollment, earn a 2.75 GPA in the first year, and complete at least 30 credits. In subsequent years, recipients must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA. The program provides a maximum award of $4,750 towards attending an in-state postsecondary institution.

The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based financial aid program. Awards vary based on the extent of financial need. Maximum annual awards are $2,700. This grant can be used in conjunction with the PROMISE Scholarship. Recipients may use the award at participating West Virginia and Pennsylvania institutions.

The West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student Grant program is a need-based financial aid program for students enrolled part-time or enrolled in a short-term workforce training program. Students planning to enroll in approved non-credit workforce programs may receive a maximum award of $2,000.

The West Virginia Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship provides a maximum annual award of $3,000 for students who achieve a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 and enroll in eligible programs Recipients agree to work full-time in a related job field after graduation. The scholarship converts into an interest-bearing loan if graduates do not meet the work requirement.

Other scholarship and loan programs increase college affordability for students entering early childhood, teaching, and health science fields.