College Financial Aid That’s Based On Need

For parents with High School Seniors and younger students:

Several States offer college financial aid based on need that covers a great deal of college expenses. This is pivotal for “lower income” families. I have created a list below of few that come off the top of my head.

There are and will continuously be updates, adds, and subtractions, as the programs do. So it’s best you stay in the know.

James A. Osborne

(Updated) July 14, 2019 5pm

The Go Blue Guarantee is our commitment to keeping a world-class education affordable and accessible for all Michigan residents pursuing undergraduate study on our Ann Arbor campus. It includes: FREE TUITION FOR FAMILIES WITH INCOMES $65,000 & UNDER, ASSETS BELOW $50,000; TUITION SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES WITH INCOMES UP TO $180,000; FOUR YEARS FOR QUALIFYING IN-STATE STUDENTS | ANN ARBOR CAMPUS. apply to U-M, get admitted, and apply for financial aid by March 31.

The MSU Spartan Advantage Program (SPAD) reduces the educational loan debt of our neediest Michigan students. Institutional funds supplement other non-loan forms of financial assistance a student receives so that the costs of tuition, fees, room, board, and books are covered.

Eligible students receive sufficient grants, scholarships, and work study funds to cover the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, and books. Actual charges for a particular student can vary. See our costs page for more information. Costs for full-time tuition and fees during the fall and spring semesters.

Room and board based on the cost of a standard double occupancy residence hall room and silver meal plan.

Estimated cost of books and course materials. Students with documented needs for course materials in excess of this standard amount should contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional funds.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Bucky’s Tuition Promise in February, guaranteeing free tuition for four years to in-state residents with family incomes below $58,000: Bucky’s Tuition Promise is a commitment to Wisconsin resident students.

The program guarantees scholarships and grants to pay for tuition & segregated fees for students whose household adjusted gross income (AGI) is $58,000 or less. Incoming freshmen will receive eight (8) consecutive semesters (4 years) of free tuition & segregated fees and transfer students will receive four (4) semesters (2 years).


Expanding on UT Austin’s long-standing commitment to reducing student debt and making a UT Austin education possible for Texans from low- and middle-income families, the university ensures that in-state, first-year through fourth-year students, with family adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of up to $100,000, and who have financial need, will receive guaranteed need-based aid through the Texas Advance Commitment.

Eligible students with a family AGI of up to $30,000 will receive enough aid to completely cover their tuition costs.

UT-Austin will provide free tuition to undergrad students with family incomes below $65,000 starting in 2020

College tuition-free for middle class New Yorkers. With the passage of the FY 2018 State Budget, New York is now home to the nation’s first accessible college program – The Excelsior Scholarship.

Under this groundbreaking program, more than 940,000 middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year will qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year colleges in New York State. The new program begins in the fall of 2017 and will be phased in over three years.

In order to apply, students must:

– Be residents of New York State

– Attend a SUNY or CUNY two- or four-year degree program

– Take 30 credits per calendar year (including January and Summer sessions)

– Plan to live and work in New York following graduation for the length of time they participate in the scholarship program for

For 8th Grade Students in Indiana YOU MUST SIGN UP IN 8th GRADE: The 21st Century Scholarship provides students up to four years of undergraduate tuition* at any participating public college or university in Indiana. If you attend a private college, the state will award an amount comparable to that of a four-year public college. If you attend a participating proprietary (for-profit) school, the state will award a tuition scholarship equal to that of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.

Helping guarantee all Texas children have access to a higher education, regardless of their family’s financial resources.

To increase access to higher education, Texas State University offers the Bobcat Promise. This program guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees for 15 credit hours per semester (not to exceed one’s demonstrated need) to new entering freshmen with a family adjusted gross income that does not exceed $35,000.

Eligible students must apply and be accepted for admission, as well as submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), no later than January 15 prior to the upcoming academic year in order to receive the guaranteed funds. Students may qualify for the program for up to eight continuous long semesters (fall and spring). This program will provide up to the cost of 15 credit hours of tuition and fees each fall and spring semester (an award in excess of $11,000 per academic year).

Under the Bobcat Promise, tuition and mandatory fees will be paid (up to a student’s demonstrated need) through a combination of federal, state and institutional funds. These funds include, but are not limited to, Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEXAS Grant, Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG), Texas State Tuition Grant (TSTG), institutional scholarships, college work study, etc.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Bobcat Promise, you must:

Be an entering first-time freshman (transfer students are not eligible)

Be a Texas resident

Have a family adjusted gross income of $35,000 or less

Be enrolled full time and complete at least 15 credit hours each semester (fall and spring semesters)

Apply and be accepted for admission, as well as submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), no later than January 15 prior to the upcoming academic year

Have financial need as demonstrated by the FAFSA

City College of San Francisco’s Free City program provides tuition-free access to all California residents living in the city. Free tuition is available for City College students who have established California residency and live in San Francisco. Students apply for Free City by completing the one-page Free City Application which is included as a screen within the online registration process. After registering, we encourage you to complete either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a California Dream Act Application. FreeCity is now offered all year around.

The City of Boston‘s Tuition-Free Community College Plan helps makes community college affordable. But the savings on your education don’t have to stop there! The state of Massachusetts offers a similar program, Commonwealth Commitment, to make the continuation to four-year college more affordable, too. The Boston Bridge helps you take advantage of both programs. Through the Boston Bridge, you can attend community college and then transfer to a four-year college to finish your bachelor’s degree at no cost.

Aspiring to a bachelor’s degree is a very worthwhile goal. Bachelor’s degree holders make, on average, nearly $20,000 more per year than those who earn only an associate degree. (See a graph of average wages here.) Just remember that pursuing a bachelor’s, and saving money through the Boston Bridge, will require extra work and commitment. You may be a good fit for the Boston Bridge program if you:

Want to earn your bachelor’s degree

Have a good idea of which major you want to pursue

Can attend college full-time

Plan to earn a 3.0 GPA

New Haven Promise scholarship is an annual award that covers up to full tuition, and tuition only, at a Connecticut public 2 or 4-year college or university. Here are the requirements for receiving a Promise scholarship:

You must be a New Haven resident and attend New Haven Public Schools or an approved charter school in the City of New Haven. If you’re new to the city as of at least your freshman year, you may still qualify for a percentage of the scholarship based on your length of residency in New Haven.

You have a positive disciplinary record during high school (no expulsions).

You complete 40 hours of community service over four years of high school.

You have a 90% attendance record or better. In other words, you don’t miss more than 72 days in high school.

Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher at graduation.

If you meet these requirements, you qualify for a Promise scholarship! We don’t cover the cost of books, fees, or housing while you’re at school, but we will cover whatever tuition expense remains after your federal and state government grants, if any. At up to $10,000 a year over four years — that’s $40,000!

To maintain your scholarship once you’re in college, you have to obtain a 2.0 GPA or higher per semester during your college-going years.

This is not a loan that has to be repaid; it’s a scholarship and our Promise to you.

Check with your state: The North American Council on Adoptable Children in St. Paul, Minnesota, reports that Connecticut, Kentucky, Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida and Maryland offer waivers at certain public schools for adopted and foster care children.

UPDATE: Bright Futures has recently increased the required academic standards. Check with the BF program directly.

Bright Futures is the name of a scholarship program in the state of Florida. The program funds three scholarships, available to Florida residents who attend a Florida high school and an eligible Florida post-secondary institution.

Florida Academic Scholars: Requires a minimum weighted GPA of 3.5, an ACT composite score of 29 or SAT combined reading/math score of 1290, and 100 volunteer service hours.

Florida Medallion Scholars: Requires a minimum weighted GPA of 3.0, an ACT composite score of 26 or SAT combined reading/math score of 1170, and 75 service hours.

Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars: Requires a minimum weighted GPA of 3.0; available to students pursuing a career education or certificate program. The Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars program funds up to 60 credit hours for a bachelor of science or bachelor of applied science program following completion of the corresponding associate’s degree.

Award amounts are set by statute each year. In the 2016-17 year, Academic Scholars receive up to $103 per credit hour per semester, Medallion Scholars receive up to $77 per credit hour per semester, and Gold Seal Scholars receive up to $48 per credit hour per semester.

Hope Scholarship, Georgia’s unique scholarship and grant program that rewards students with financial assistance in degree, diploma, and certificate programs at eligible Georgia public and private colleges and universities, and public technical colleges. Students can benefit from HOPE in several ways.

The HOPE Scholarship program is for students who have demonstrated academic achievement and are seeking a college degree. There are several ways to become eligible for the HOPE Scholarship, either by graduating from high school as a HOPE Scholar or by earning it while in college.

The HOPE Grant program is for students seeking a technical certification or diploma, regardless of the student’s high school grade point average or graduation date. For more information, please review the HOPE Grant regulations.

The Zell Miller Scholarship program is for students who have demonstrated academic achievement and are seeking a college degree. Generally, to become eligible, a student must graduate from an eligible high school with a 3.70 GPA and a minimum score on the SAT/ACT.

The program is entirely merit-based, meaning that a person’s eligibility for the scholarship is based on their academic achievement in high school or college.

To receive HOPE Scholarship funding, students must meet one of the following academic requirements:

Graduate from a HOPE-eligible high school with a 3.0 grade point average for college preparatory diploma or a 3.2 grade point average for other diploma types.

Complete a HOPE eligible home study program with a 3.0 grade point average.

For all Georgia high school graduates who begin their high school careers during or after the 2008-2009 school year must graduate with a 3.0 grade point average.

Graduate from an eligible high school, complete an eligible home study program, or earn a GED, and score in the national composite 85th percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT tests.

Graduate from an ineligible high school or complete an ineligible home study program, and then earn a 3.0 grade point average on 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of college degree-level coursework. This option allows for payment of the first 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours after they are taken.

Earn a 3.0 grade point average at the college level on degree coursework after attempting 30, 60, or 90 semesters hours or 45, 90, or 135 quarter hours, regardless of high school graduation status.

And all of the following other requirements.

Be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at an eligible public or private college or university or technical college in Georgia.

Meet HOPE’s Georgia residency requirements.

Meet HOPE’s U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen requirements.

Be in compliance with Selective Service registration requirements.

Be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990. A student may be ineligible for HOPE payment if he or she has been convicted for committing certain felony offenses involving marijuana, controlled substances, or dangerous drugs.

Not be in default or owe a refund on a student financial aid program.

Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the college.…/hope-zell…/hope-scholarship/

University of Illinois at Chicago: free tuition for high-achieving local students.

UIC’s Chancellor’s Fellows program, in place for fall 2019 incoming students, is part of a statewide effort to reduce the number of Illinois students leaving the state for college. To be eligible for the UIC program, first-time Illinois college students must have at least a 3.8 GPA and at least a 1360 on the SAT or a 30 on the ACT exams. Their family incomes cannot be more than six times the federal poverty rate.

The poverty threshold for a family of two parents and two minor children, for example, as established by the U.S. Census Bureau, is $24,858 as of 2017.

High school valedictorians also will be eligible, irrespective of their grades or standardized test scores, officials said.

The scholarship covers tuition and fees. Posted base tuition for in-state undergraduates at UIC runs $10,584 as of this fall. Required fees add as much as $2,100, according to current rates. Tuition for programs such as engineering are more expensive, but officials say those students also will be eligible for the scholarship.

The scholarship will not cover room and board, which adds $10,000 to $13,000 a year depending on the dorm and meal plan, according to UIC’s housing website.

Students must apply by UIC’s early action deadline of Nov. 1 to be considered.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Four years. Free Tuition.



Our commitment is to make the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign more affordable for its students.

How do you qualify?

You’re an Illinois resident (parents listed on the FAFSA are also Illinois residents)

Your family income is $61,000 or less

Your family’s assets are $50,000 or less

You’re admitted as a new freshman or transfer student

You’re under the age of 24

Free college is coming for WA families making under $50K

A new plan approved by the Legislature will soon provide free tuition to low-income families — guaranteed.

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