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When researching college financial aid, you want to consider all of your options. That includes financial aid opportunities close to home. There are some unique state-based financial aid initiatives that could make it easier to cut college expenses.

College financial aid programs from the state

Certain states now offer programs through which qualifying students can get free tuition for schools in their state. If you live in one of the following states, you may be able to get part or all of your education taken care of, tuition free!

New Jersey
Through the NJ Stars Program, students in the top 20 percent of their class may be eligible to receive up to five semesters of tuition and fees at their community college.


Students at designated A+ schools can sign up for a program in which up to six semesters of study at a community college or technical school will be covered. Students must sign up and GPA, volunteer, and other requirements must also be met.


Through the Georgia HOPE program, students who meet certain eligibility criteria will be covered for the cost of tuition at a Georgia public institution. Awards are also available to students attending Georgia private colleges.

Other states, while perhaps not offering programs that cover full tuition, also provide a wealth of grants and opportunities to their residents. In addition to researching information online, check with the financial aid counselor at the school you’re considering. The people who work in the financial aid office may have information about state programs.

Through a state initiative, qualifying residents can receive a per-credit stipend for use at all state and some private schools.


Reciprocity programs
Another possible tuition saver comes in the form of reciprocity. In most cases of reciprocity, a state sets up an arrangement with schools in other states, wherein a student can pursue a program not offered in their home state at in-state fees. The intent is to afford students the opportunity to pursue the program of their choice, even if it’s not available locally.

The Midwest Student Exchange Program
More than 125 participating schools in Minnesota, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska have arrangements with states in the same region, offering in-state or reduced tuition fees to residents of partner states.

Proposed programs in other states
As states grapple with college funding issues, some are taking a cue from the states above and considering new approaches to financial aid that could work to your benefit in your financial aid package. Keep your eye open for new funding opportunities in your state. It could make a big difference in your financial aid award letter.

Need help paying for college? Check out the financing options offered by Sallie Mae! Click here