How to Get State and Institutional Financial Aid

Resources to help you pay for college.

Financial aid can makes paying for college easier and more affordable. Whether you’re pursuing a certificate, trade program, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree, financial aid is available. Two primary sources of financial aid are the state government and the college or university (institutional aid). The processes to receive state and institutional financial aid will vary depending on where you live and the types of colleges you apply to. In some states and for many colleges, you may need to take additional steps after you complete the FAFSA ®. This article will provide an overview of state and institutional aid. It will explain how to determine your eligibility and how to apply. To learn more about financial aid offered by the federal government, check out the articles on the FAFSA and the various types of financial aid.

State financial aid

What is state financial aid?

The state government provides financial aid to help fund higher education for residents of their state. Different states offer different types of financial aid to their residents. Most offer grants or scholarships, but some may offer loans or work-study. To find out more about state aid available in your state and your eligibility, check here.

Who’s eligible for state financial aid?

Eligibility for state financial aid varies based on state requirements. All states require you to be a resident to receive state financial aid. Some states may have financial aid for undocumented students who are neither U.S. citizens nor eligible non-citizens. If so, a separate application may be required.

How do I apply for state financial aid?

Many states award state-based aid through the FAFSA similarly to federal aid. However, some states have separate state applications to apply for state financial aid.

Institutional Financial Aid

What is institutional financial aid?

Institutional financial aid is provided by the college or university you plan to attend. This can include grants and scholarships but can also include institutional loans or work-study programs. The amount of financial aid from colleges or universities can vary. You’ll receive different amounts from one college to the next.

Who’s eligible for institutional financial aid?

Eligibility will differ depending on the college and the financial aid provided. Each college's grants and scholarships will have their own eligibility requirements, which may include citizenship or residency. Talk to your college to learn more about your eligibility.

How do I apply for institutional financial aid?

The application process for institutional financial aid will vary based on the colleges you’re applying to. Most colleges only require you to submit the FAFSA to be eligible, but some may ask you to submit the CSS Profile or their own institutional form.

Am I eligible for financial aid if I'm undocumented?

Undocumented students aren’t eligible for federal financial aid. Eligibility for state and institutional financial aid will vary based on the state you live in and the colleges you’re applying to. Check with your state to determine if financial aid is available. Before applying to a college, contact their financial aid office to determine their policies regarding institutional financial aid. Here are some ways to learn more about financial aid eligibility for undocumented students.

If you’re a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we suggest you submit the FAFSA to see what financial aid you’re eligible for. You should check with your state and your colleges to see what other applications are required. Whether you need the CSS Profile, institutional forms, or a state financial aid application, make sure to submit them before any deadlines so you can get the financial aid you deserve. By looking into the financial aid policies of your state and your college, you can set yourself up for success in the financial aid process.