If You Live in One of These States, You May Qualify for a College Grant
Unfortunately, many states chose to restrict their free community college offering to those just graduating high school. This type of policy makes it a bit harder for adults who are trying to change careers.
• Oregon: No set family income limit for high school students to qualify for free public community college.
• Washington (state): Must sign up during middle school, and family must be considered "low income" by the state to qualify for free public community college.
• Nevada: No set family income limit, but students must complete 20 hours of community service to qualify for free public community college.
• Idaho: "Direct Admission" program automatically admits high school students with a good GPA and high SAT scores tuition-free to any public two-year or four-year institution.
• Wyoming: Students must either be academically gifted or be of low income to receive free tuition to any state community college or the state's lone University, the University of Wyoming.
• Missouri: Any student who graduates from a Missouri high school with a 2.5 GPA and completes 50 hours of community service qualifies for two years of free community college or vocational school.
• Oklahoma: Students from low-income families (gross income less than $55,000/year) who perform well in high school and sign up during ninth or tenth grade receive two years of free community college.
• Indiana: Any student who completes high school with a 2.5 GPA and meets other stipulations qualifies for a free four-year education at certain Indiana institutions.
• New York: Any in-state student who graduates high school whose family income is below $125,000/year qualifies for state-funded four-year tuition, but the student is still liable for fees. The student must work in the state for a certain number of years, or else they must repay the state.
• Rhode Island: Any student who is under 19 years old and maintains a 2.5 GPA in high school is entitled to two years of free community college in the state.
• Delaware: Any student who graduates from a Delaware high school is entitled to free tuition only at a Delaware Technical Community College campus, provided they enroll as soon as they graduate.
• North Carolina: Students with a 'B' average in a North Carolina high school or better may enroll in a state community college tuition-free for two years.
States That Allow Adult Learners Free Tuition
These states will allow someone who did not attend high school in that state and is not immediately enrolling after high school free tuition benefits.
• California: Provides state residents who can demonstrate financial need free community college for two years.
• Minnesota: Provides a $1,000 per semester scholarship to anyone who has a GED or diploma and has not attended college in the past two years to select colleges.
• Arkansas: Students must have a GED or diploma and complete 15 hours of community service per semester to get two years of free community college. They must also reside in the state for at least three years following their graduation, or they'll have to repay the state.
• Kentucky: Must have a diploma or GED and reside in the state. Student must enter a state-approved program. A maximum of 32 community college credits are covered.
• West Virginia: The state will cover any approved two-year degree or certificate at any public institution as long as two hours of community service are performed each semester and the student already has a diploma or GED. Students must live in the state for at least two years after they graduate or repay the state.
• Tennessee: One program for students under 19 years of age who have completed high school in the past two years will pay for two years of community college as long as the student keeps a 2.0 GPA and performs 8 hours of community service each semester. Another program is for adults returning to college who have been a state resident for at least a year. This provides a free two years of community college or vocational school.
As you can see, the grants offered vary widely. Some have income restrictions, residency restrictions, age restrictions, a requirement to remain in the state a certain period of time, and more.
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