These 25 states provide the most need-based financial aid. Why it matters to your school

Scholaroo's report illustrates which state's fiscal policies prioritize helping financially strapped students get through college.

It’s no secret that, for the general population, college cost is becoming a growing concern among students and their parents alike. With this in mind, college leaders should know to what extent their state is helping remedy potential students’ financial inhibitions by providing need-based financial aid.

In the last 20 years, students have become less concerned about getting accepted into their top-choice institution and are now primarily focused on the debt they’ll be left with. In fact, an institution’s costs and the amount of scholarship money they will receive are two of the five most important factors driving students to enroll in a specific institution. Similarly, 98% of respondents said financial aid would be necessary to support themselves or their child, while 54% said the need would be “extremely likely,” according to The Princeton Review.

The stress of higher education’s financial burden that most Americans are hesitant about pursuing a degree despite knowing the value that it can have toward boosting their long-term financial well-being.

A new report from Scholaroo looked into all 50 states’ public data that shows how much their budgets allocate to need-based scholarships and grants, public money provided to students that they won’t have to pay back. The report illustrates which state’s fiscal policies prioritize helping students get through college.

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These 25 states provide the most need-based financial aid per student

Scholaroo ranks every state by the average amount of need-based scholarships and grants provided per student—not the total amount the state provides. While Minnesota’s total amount of disbursed aid is nearly $60 million below that of Indiana, the former ranks higher because each Minnesotan receives more. Moreover, Wyoming is the only state in the top 10 to disburse less than $100 million in need-based aid, with a surprising $6.5 million.

California blows every state out of the water with its expenditure on scholarships and grants for needy students. It’s the only state to dole out more than a billion dollars, and the amount of aid it provides per student is more than double that of fifth-ranked Kentucky and beyond.

Rank State Average amount of need-based aid per student Total state disbursement
1 California $5,178.83 $2,001,471,599
2 New Jersey $4,286.37 $313,638,198
3 Washington $3,481.75 $197,602,972
4 South Carolina $3,238.34 $130,223,398
5 Kentucky $2,563.52 $115,791,556
6 Wyoming $2,517.41 $6,467,227
7 Minnesota $2,511.33 $134,328,746
8 Indiana $2,445.49 $192,643,236
9 Tennessee $2,400.22 $152,207,851
10 Illinois $2,399.32 $271,333,765
11 Louisiana $2,288.72 $72,456,263
12 Texas $2,237.57 $503,690,453
13 New York $2,138.85 $375,513,559
14 Alaska $2,021.95 $8,803,573
15 Virginia $1,970.93 $172,135,262
16 Oklahoma $1,961.79 $63,599,322
17 Georgia $1,952.57 $163,146,999
18 North Carolina $1,882.70 $180,835,495
19 Maryland $1,751.42 $68,576,893
20 Pennsylvania $1,734.87 $278,671,964
21 Nevada $1,707.82 $25,842,748
22 Wisconsin $1,658.65 $94,061,937
23 New Mexico $1,647.60 $12,923,763
24 West Virginia $1,570.23 $31,151,853
25 Colorado $1,554.79 $69,146,219


Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. His beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

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