How Public Grants Work

State Grants

Former Georgia governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller pushed the HOPE scholarship and grant programs.
Former Georgia governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller pushed the HOPE scholarship and grant programs.
AP Photo/Joe Marquette

Some states have their own public grant programs. Most states require grant recipients to be a resident of the state and to attend a state university or college. Some states also have limited funds set aside for students who wish to attend a private institution as long as it's within the state.

Many states reserve grants for those students with the most financial need. For example, Massachusetts has the Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant. This grant only goes to students who maintain a 2.5 GPA or better in high school and who also demonstrate a financial need. It's also available to students who did not apply for college directly out of high school.

Other states have grant programs that don't take financial need into account. One example of a state grant program is Georgia's Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) program. It has both a scholarship and a grant element. Georgia students with a strong academic performance who are seeking a college degree are eligible for the scholarship. The HOPE Grant is meant for students seeking a technical certification or diploma and doesn't depend upon academic performance. Both the scholarship and the grant program receive funds from the Georgia Lottery.

Students eligible for the HOPE Grant will receive funds that cover the entire cost of tuition. They also receive a book allowance per semester. Other expenses, such as room and board, are not covered by the grant.

It's important for all college students to research financial aid options. Grants and scholarships can help a student cover expenses without adding the burden of repayment. Take everything into consideration -- your financial status, the career you hope to pursue and the college you want to attend. You may find a grant that's perfect for you.

Learn more about grants and financial aid through the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Federal Student Aid. "Grant Programs Fact Sheet." January 2010. (March 1, 2010)
  • FinAid. "Grants." 2010. (Feb. 25, 2010)
  • GAcollege411. "Georgia's HOPE Grant Program." 2009. (Feb. 25, 2010)
  • Georgia Student Finance Commission. "HOPE Grant Program." State of Georgia. 2009. (Feb. 24, 2010)
  • "Grant Sources." 2010. (Feb. 25, 2010)
  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. "Eligibility Requirements." (Feb. 26, 2010)
  • U.S. Department of Education. "FAFSA On The Web Worksheet." 2010. (March 1, 2010)
  • U.S. Department of Education. "Federal Pell Grant." Jan. 11, 2010. (Feb. 24, 2010)
  • U.S. Department of Education. "Federal Student Aid Programs." Jan. 30, 2010. (Feb. 24, 2010)
  • U.S. Department of Education. "Office of Chief Financial Officer: Grant Information." Aug. 27, 2008. (Feb. 24, 2010)