Wednesday, June 12, 2024

31 States With Free Community College to Save You Money

Kiss enormous student debt goodbye with these free tuition programs.

There are so many great things about college: making new friends, having new experiences, learning about topics you really care about, and graduating with a boatload of debt. Wait, what was that last one?

It’s no secret that college is expensive — and student loan debt can hike higher than $30,000. And while many students turn to far more affordable community colleges, these still often come with a cost. 💸

However, students feeling the pinch can say goodbye to tuition costs and fees (typically the priciest portion of higher education expenses) by attending free community colleges in these 31 states. 👍

Take your pick from the free community college options below! 👇

What is Tuition-Free College?

A tuition-free college is a college that charges zero tuition fees for students that meet eligibility requirements, such as a low family income level or graduating from a public high school. 

It is also known as a “college promise program” aimed to encourage students to take up postsecondary education by making it affordable. 🏫 

A diverse group of four students and scholars of free community college states walking on their way to class
Free community college options can help students with financial needs to get higher education and specialized skills. Photo: Freepik

It’s important to note that while tuition is free, students still have to pay for the other costs of attendance like room, textbooks, and transportation. With an average of $5,155 to $15,477 to pay per year for community college, getting your hands on free tuition will help. 💸

Community service during enrollment or working for the state after graduation is usually done in exchange for free college tuition. 👍

First-Dollar vs. Last-Dollar Grants

Most of the tuition-free college options listed below are “last-dollar” while only a few select states offer “first-dollar” programs. But what’s the difference? 

First-Dollar

A first-dollar grant is given to students to cover their tuition and other costs, regardless of any existing grants, scholarships, or financial aid. 💰

Last-Dollar

In comparison, a last-dollar grant covers tuition costs not already met by other existing grants, scholarships, or financial aid a student has secured after filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 👍

US States Offering Tuition-Free Community College

Arkansas – Arkansas Future Grant

Are you eyeing a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) major or another in-demand field? Apply for the Arkansas Future Grant, a last-dollar program issued on a first-come, first-served basis. 💵

In exchange for full coverage of your tuition and fees at community college, you must attend the grant’s monthly mentorship program, do 15 hours of community service, and work in Arkansas for three years after graduation. 🧑‍💼

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • An Arkansas public high school diploma or its equivalent, or proof of state residency in the three years prior to community college enrollment
  • A part-time or full-time enrollment at eligible schools offering an associate’s degree or certification in the fields of STEM or those with regional high demand, like healthcare or construction

California –  California College Promise Grant (CCPG)

The CCPG is a unique grant where instead of paying for your tuition, it pays for your enrollment fees (at $46 per unit) in selected California community colleges. A portion of your parking permits in the fall and spring semesters are also paid off. 🚙

Maintain your grant when you keep your GPA at 2.0 or higher and finish more than half of your coursework. 👍 

In case you don’t qualify for this scheme, you can also look for colleges funded by a separate educational aid program called The California Promise that waives enrollment fees. 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A California resident, a non-resident eligible for tuition exemption, have a “T” or “U” visa, or have a homeless youth determination from your college’s financial aid office
  • An incoming or already enrolled California community college student 
  • Meet a certain income ceiling (changing yearly) or be qualified under a special classification, such as being a dependent of a 9/11 victim

Connecticut – New Haven Promise

The New Haven Promise program does more than pay for full tuition for up to four years of public college — it also shapes its scholars to be career-ready. 🥳 

Fully funded by Yale University, this program offers internships for both grant recipients and eligible New Haven public school graduates studying out-of-state. 

Tuition coverage is based on residency length, so if you’ve been in this state since preschool, you won’t be paying any tuition fees. But if you’ve only been studying in Connecticut from grade nine to 12, the grant just covers 65 percent of your tuition. 😄

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A New Haven resident
  • A New Haven public school or approved public charter school graduate with a positive disciplinary record, at least a 90 percent attendance record, and a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Have completed the community service requirement as a volunteer for either a local not-for-profit community-based organization or a private sector organization for a minimum of 40 hours during high school

Delaware – Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED)

Whether you’re an incoming college freshman or someone already in the workforce looking to get a college degree or diploma, the SEED scholarship is for you! 🧑‍🎓

This last-dollar program pays for your tuition for five years or 10 continuous semesters. Unlike most of the grants in this list, SEED can be used to get an associate degree, diploma, credit certificate, bachelor’s degree, or workforce training program at Delaware Tech. 📃

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Delaware high school graduate or GED passer, Delaware homeschooled student, or a Delaware resident over 25 years old
  • For associate degree students:
    • Enroll with a minimum of 12 credit hours in the first semester and hold continuous enrollment for at least two semesters in each successive academic year
    • Maintain a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA

Georgia –  Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Grant and Zell Miller Grant 

Not an A+ high school graduate? You’ve still got a chance to pursue a certificate or diploma with the HOPE grant helping pay a portion of tuition. You don’t even have to enroll full-time, just make sure to reach a 2.0 GPA per term in eligible public or technical colleges. 👍

Meanwhile, the Zell Miller Grant is for Georgia resident students with the same background, but it offers full standard tuition assistance in exchange for keeping at least a 3.5 GPA

In both cases, the funding ends once you complete 63 semesters or reach the 95-quarter-hour limit. 🕞

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • A Georgia resident
  • Meet the Eligible Postsecondary Institution’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy
  • Comply with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990 (students with drug-related criminal offenses are ineligible for Georgia’s financial aid)
  • Not a holder of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from either American or foreign educational institutions

Hawaii – Hawaii Promise Scholarship

Unlike many grants that cover tuition for only two academic years, the Hawaii Promise scholarship pays for your tuition, fees, and textbooks to get a degree from any University of Hawaii (UH) Community College for up to four years. 😲

This generous last-dollar program is open to low-income Hawaiian residents and those from underserved groups. In return, its scholars must take at least six credits per semester and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. ☀️

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Hawaii resident or eligible non-resident 
  • Demonstrated financial need based on FAFSA
  • Be enrolled in any degree program at any UH community college

Indiana – 21st Century Scholars Program

Thinking about attending a two-year or four-year college? Apply for Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program to help you pay up to 100 percent of tuition and fees in eligible schools within the state. 💯

Application starts as early as 7th grade in accredited Indiana public or private high schools, where your FAFSA isn’t required (and homeschooled students aren’t eligible). 🏫 But if you’re applying in your high school senior year, you’ll need to file your FAFSA. 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • An Indiana resident 
  • Demonstrated financial need based on FAFSA (7th and 8th grade students with legal guardians and foster children are exempt) 

Iowa – Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship

Students who are pressed for time as they juggle family, work, and a college education will find some relief when they apply for the Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship. 🤗

That’s because this program covers the remaining fees for students studying in either five full-time semesters or eight part-time semesters. 🏷️ The catch? You must study in an eligible program with a high job demand, such as nursing.

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Graduate of an Iowa high school, homeschool program, or their equivalents or students aged 20 and above
  • Have already applied for other available scholarships and grants
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution at or below $20,000

Kansas – Kansas Promise Scholarship

You can focus on acing your program when the last-dollar Kansas Promise Scholarship pays part of your tuition, fees, and books in eligible public community colleges or technical colleges, private not-for-profit schools, or at the Washburn Institute of Technology. 🤓

Choose to complete a technical certificate or associate degree in high-demand programs: IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and building trades, early childhood education, and more. 👍

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen and Kansas resident
  • Meet the household income requirements per family size
    • $100,000 or less for a family of one or two
    • $150,000 or less for a family of three
    • $150,000 plus $4,800 per additional family member beyond three
  • Meet one of the following conditions:
    • Be a Kansas resident for three or more consecutive years before application;
    • Be a Kansas public or private high school graduate or its equivalent within 12 months before application; 
    • Be a dependent child of a military service member stationed in another state and is an out-of-state high school graduate or its equivalent; or
    • Have been in the custody of the Kansas Department of Children and Families at any time during grades 9 to 12

Kentucky – Work Ready Kentucky Scholars Program

It doesn’t matter what your GPA or household income is and whether you can write an essay or not: if you want to earn an associate degree or a trade certificate for high-demand jobs for as little cost as possible, then the Work Ready Kentucky Scholars Program is right up your alley. ✨

This last-dollar program can pay for your tuition covering up to 60 credit hours so you can graduate in four months or less. The best part is that there are over 2,000 courses to choose from! 😲

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US citizen or permanent resident
  • A Kentucky resident
  • A high school graduate or its equivalent 
  • With no previous associate or bachelor’s degree

Louisiana – Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS)

A group of Louisiana high school soccer players cheer for victory
Getting As in high school classes and joining extracurriculars can help you score free community college opportunities. Photo: Freepik

Graduated at the top of your class? Captained a sports team? Starred in high school plays? 🤔

Good news! Applying for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students can cover your tuition fees as a full-time and first-time freshman in Louisiana’s public colleges and universities.

As a merit-based scholarship, TOPS comes with four grant categories: Opportunity, Honors, Performance, and Tech, with each having its own TOPS Core Curriculum minimum GPA requirement. 🏆 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen or a permanent resident 
  • A Louisiana resident
  • A graduate of a Louisiana public high school, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)-approved private high school, or a BESE-approved home study program
  • At least a 27 ACT score or its SAT equivalent

Maine –  Free College Scholarship

Four community college scholars from Maine's Free College Scholarship program of different ethnicities walking around the campus
Free community colleges make it possible for you to focus entirely on getting an education and joining the professional workforce in the shortest time possible without worrying too much about the costs. Photo: drobotdean/Freepik

This last-dollar scholarship doesn’t have a lot of requirements, as long as you pass this one test: graduating from high school anytime between 2020 to 2025. 😎 Plus, you can graduate from any high school, as long as you’re in Maine by the time you attend any of the state’s seven community colleges

Good to know: Already-enrolled college students are still eligible for this scholarship, as long as they graduated high school or its equivalent from 2020 to 2025. But, previously-paid community college semesters cannot be refunded. 

With this program, you’ll also pay zero tuition and miscellaneous fees for up to two years. Excess cash from the scholarship can go to other college-related expenses, like books and supplies. 

Options like tuition waivers are available as well — making this one of the best free community college states! 🎉

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • A high school graduate or its equivalent from 2020 to 2025

Maryland – Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship

Two of the biggest expenses in attending college — tuition and fees — are covered up to $5,000 for scholars pursuing credit-bearing certificates or associate degrees under the last-dollar Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship. 😊

Aside from Maryland high school graduates or GED recipients, full-time and currently enrolled Maryland community college students can also apply to this program. 🥳

Just be enrolled full-time toward a certificate or an associate degree or take courses toward a license, certification, or apprenticeship program. 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Maryland high school graduate or its equivalent
  • For incoming college students: at least a 2.3 unweighted cumulative GPA during the first or last semester of high school senior year or a copy of your GED examination
  • For currently enrolled community college students: at least 2.5 cumulative GPA 
  • Meet the household income requirements:
    • $100,000 if the applicant is single or resides in a single parent household
    • $150,000 if the applicant is married or resides in a two-parent household

READ MORE: Weighted GPA vs. Unweighted GPA: Which Do Colleges Look At?

Massachusetts — Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College Plan (TFCC)

Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College Plan is a last-dollar program that does exactly what its name says: it covers up to three years’ worth of tuition and fees at partnered colleges. 💵 

Existing debt of up to $2,500 can also be covered, if that’s blocking you from re-enrollment. You can additionally receive $250 per semester for education-related expenses, like books and transportation. 

Unlike many grants that are only open to recent high school graduates or those from the low-income class, TFCC extends its financial aid to anyone regardless of age, income, or even immigration status. 🤩 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Boston resident 
  • Enrolled in an eligible community college to get a certificate or associate degree

Michigan  – Michigan Reconnect 

Scholarships aren’t just for young high school graduates: Michigan Reconnect is a last-dollar grant open for adults aged 25 and up to complete their college education minus the financial burden. This program covers tuition fees for in-district community colleges. 👍

An associate degree or Pell-eligible skill certificate is within reach with this program, but you can also use this to give you a financial leg up (up to $1,500 in tuition) in short-term career training programs. 😊

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • At least 25 years old 
  • A Michigan resident for at least a year
  • A high school graduate or GED recipient
  • With no associate or bachelor’s degree

Missouri – A+ Scholarship

Students eyeing programs at vocational schools or community colleges with free tuition must first check if their high school is A+ designated by Missouri. 

If it is, that’s one eligibility requirement down to apply for the last-dollar A+ Scholarship to help you pay for two years’ worth of tuition and fees at partnered institutions. 🏫

Scholars must have completed 50 hours of unpaid tutoring or mentoring during high school to qualify, and must work in Missouri for two years after community college graduation. 🧑‍🎓

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US citizen or permanent resident
  • Attended an A+ designated high school 
  • At least a 2.5 cumulative GPA in high school
  • Have a 95 percent high school attendance record 
  • Have a record of good citizenship

Montana – Montana Promise Grant Program

Four diverse college students and recipients of the Montana promise grant program sort eco-waste during community service
Scholarships typically require their recipients to be well-rounded by keeping satisfactory academic progress and participating in community service. Photo: pch.vector/Freepik

Already enrolled in a two-year degree program in an institution under the Montana university system? Whether you’re taking part-time or full-time semesters, you could get some help in paying for your tuition with the last-dollar Montana Promise Grant Program. 💵

Students taking up credit-based courses in community colleges or tribal colleges within Montana are eligible too! Make sure to keep a cumulative 2.7 GPA and complete at least eight hours of community service per semester once you’re a scholar to keep yourself in the program. 😄

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Montana resident for at least a year before application
  • A high school graduate or its equivalent
  • At least a 2.5 cumulative GPA in high school
  • At least enrolled half-time in a Montana community or tribal college in programs with transferable credits or leading to an associate degree or certificate
  • Have no associate degree or have not completed at least 60 credit hours at a postsecondary institution

Nevada – Nevada Promise Scholarship

The Nevada Promise Scholarship is pretty straightforward: it’s a last-dollar program funding up to three years of state community college tuition and mandatory fees. 🤑 It doesn’t matter what your GPA or household income is — your high school diploma will do. 

You’ll have to enroll in at least 12 credits in a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s program, participate in community service, and join the Nevada Promise Mandatory Training. 👍 

Mentorships are provided once you’ve sent in your application, filled in the mentoring support authorization form, and reported at least half of the target hours for community service. 💯

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Nevada resident for at least a year before application and under the age of 20 years old
  • Nevada or nearby county high school graduate or its equivalent from 2019 to 2023
  • Completed eight hours of community service in a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in high school
  • No existing associate or bachelor’s degree

New Jersey – New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG)

This one’s for all the students struggling financially: the CCOG is a last-dollar program covering up to four years of tuition and required fees in any of the state’s community colleges. 🏫 

With that out of the way, you can focus your funds on other expenses such as books and transport costs. 

You can start by enrolling in at least six credits per semester and work your way up (ideally making satisfactory academic progress) until you earn a college degree, minus the headaches of educational expenses. 👍

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A New Jersey resident
  • Have a household annual adjusted gross income equal to or less than $65,000
    • Income earners between $65,001 to $80,000 and $80,001 and $100,000 pay discounted tuition and fees
  • Have no existing bachelor’s degree

New Mexico – New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship

There’s no doubt that a 100 percent free college tuition and fees is the bee’s knees. And that’s exactly what the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship is about! 💯 

It’s split into two types: the Lottery Scholarship for recent high school graduates and the Opportunity Scholarship for returning students aged 18 and older. It supports students in public New Mexico colleges or universities pursuing a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree. 🤩

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A New Mexico resident 
  • Recent high school graduates or its equivalent (enrolled in college within 16 months after graduation):
    • Must be enrolled full-time for at least one semester in any degree with a 2.5 GPA right after graduation or GED completion
    • Students with disabilities may qualify for reduced credit hour requirements 
  • Returning students (aged 18 and up enrolling in college more than 16 months after graduation):
    • Can be enrolled either part-time or full-time with at least six credit hours and not more than 18 credit hours with a 2.5 GPA
    • No bachelor’s degree or more than 160 attempted credit hours in previously attended colleges 

New York – Excelsior Scholarship 

Take a pick from New York’s multiple college-degree-granting schools under the State University of New York (SUNY) system or the City University of New York system (CUNY) and apply for the last-dollar Excelsior Scholarship paying for up to $5,500 worth of tuition. 🏫

Only full-time students can apply because you must be enrolled in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits yearly

Plus, you’ll be signing a contract where you’ll commit to work within New York for the same amount of time you were enrolled as a scholar. 🏢

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • A New York resident for at least a year before application
  • A high school graduate or its equivalent
  • Have an adjusted family household income of $125,000 or less

Oklahoma – Oklahoma’s Promise

Oklahoma’s Promise covers college tuition fees for up to five years and has two specific requirements: enroll anytime between 8th and 11th grade and do not exceed the required household income ceiling. 💸

Whether you choose to study in an Oklahoma public two-year college or a four-year university, you can get up to full tuition coverage. 👍 

Keeping this grant until you graduate requires a good academic standing according to the standards set by your college. 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen or lawfully present in the US during college enrollment in time for receiving the scholarship
  • An Oklahoma resident
  • Must be a student in the 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade in an Oklahoma high school during the time of application
    • Homeschooled students must be between the ages of 13 to 16 years old
  • Must be a student whose parents’ federal adjusted gross income does not exceed:
    • $60,000 with one or two dependent children;
    • $70,000 with three or four dependent children; or
    • $80,000 with five or more dependent children

Oregon – Oregon Promise

Here’s one of the things to tick off as an Oregonian high school senior: apply for the last-dollar Oregon Promise to get $2,058 to $4,248 worth of free tuition as a full-time student in one of your state’s community colleges. ✔️

There’s also no rush to get you to finish postsecondary education, but keep in mind that this grant only covers up to 90 college credits. 📚 

Lastly, you must apply during your high school senior year or right after completing your GED test

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Oregon resident for at least a year before application
  • Recent high school graduates or GED test graduates
  • With a cumulative 2.0 high school GPA or 145 grade on GED tests
  • Have no more than 90 attempted or completed college credits
  • Meet the Expected Family Contribution requirements, if applicable

Rhode Island – Rhode Island Promise 

Pursuing an associate degree can be easy on your wallet once you’ve got the Rhode Island Promise to cover your tuition and mandatory fees for up to two years at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). 👏

Your family income doesn’t matter in the eligibility requirements of this last-dollar program. 💸 

Continuing to meet the requirements automatically renews your scholarship, too! In exchange, you’ll need to work and live in Rhode Island after your graduation. 🧑‍💼

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A Rhode Island resident or eligible non-resident 
  • A high school graduate or GED recipient between 2017 to 2020 before 19 years old
    • High school graduates aged 19 to 21 may be considered if they can provide a document explaining their late graduation
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in college
  • Must be enrolled full-time in college

South Carolina – South Carolina Workforce Scholarship Program

Looking to pursue a career in a high-demand field such as healthcare or construction (to name a few)? 🏗️ 

Apply to the last-dollar South Carolina Workforce Scholarship Program to get free tuition and mandatory fees covered at any of the state’s 16 technical colleges. 

The program is open to both high school graduates and adult learners and also offers tuition assistance for non-credit programs such as commercial truck driving and forklift operation. 🚚

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Recent high school graduates or adult learners 
  • Students in credit-based programs must maintain a 2.0 GPA
  • Must be employed
  • Must take a financial literacy course from their chosen technical college
  • Complete 100 hours of volunteer work for a nonprofit or public service organization

Tennessee – Tennessee Promise

The Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar grant helping incoming full-time college students with two years of their tuition. Plus, there are 13 community colleges and 27 technical colleges in addition to other eligible educational institutions for students to choose from. 🏫

You’ll not only be helped financially but you’ll also be provided a mentor for the college admission process. ⭐ 

Get into the program by applying as soon as you graduate high school or right after you finish your homeschool or GED program — but you must be younger than 19 years old at the time of earning these credentials to be eligible. 

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • US citizen or eligible non-citizen 
  • High school graduate or its equivalent before 19 years old
  • Participate in the mandatory meetings and mentoring program
  • Complete eight hours of community service per enrolled term before receiving the award
  • Maintain at least a 2.0 GPA 

Virginia – Get Skilled, Get a Job, Get Ahead (G3)

The last-dollar Virginia G3 program lets you choose a high-demand field (IT, public safety, etc.) and it will pay for your tuition, fees, and books in the state’s community colleges. 📚 

Some courses may not require a high school diploma or its equivalent, but you must take up at least six credit hours per semester once you’re enrolled. 

There’s also more to the package — if you’re enrolled full-time and qualify for full Federal Pell Grants, the Virginia G3 can give you extra financial aid to cover non-college-related expenses, like transportation. 🤑

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Qualified for in-state tuition
  • Have a total household income less than or equal to 400 percent of the federal poverty level 
  • Accepted or enrolled in an approved program at a Virginia public community college
  • Enrolled with at least six credit hours per semester

Washington – College Bound Scholarship Washington and the Seattle Promise

Washington has two main free community college initiatives of the last-dollar type. The College Bound Scholarship covers the average tuition, fees, and book allowance in over 65 colleges and universities within Washington. 💰

Meanwhile, the Seattle Promise provides free tuition for up to two years at North Seattle College, Seattle Central College, or South Seattle College until you complete either 90 college credits or your first degree. 

Your GPA, income, or nationality won’t matter — you only need a Seattle public high school diploma. 🧑‍🎓

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • For College Bound Scholarship:
    • A public school student eligible for free and reduced price lunch (FRPL) in 7th, 8th, or 9th grade, or in state foster care or a dependent of a state between 7th grade to high school graduation
    • Must have graduated with a cumulative 2.0 GPA or higher
    • Have no felony convictions
    • Meet the annual median family income requirements:
      • $33,874 for a household size of two people
      • $42,606 for a household size of three people
      • $51,338 for a household size of four people
  • For Seattle Promise:
    • All graduating seniors from Seattle public high schools regardless of GPA, family income, ability, or country of birth

West Virginia – West Virginia Invests 

With the help of the last-dollar program called West Virginia Invests, you can get a certificate or associate degree without having to pay for tuition, mandatory fees, and academic program fees. 🥳

This applies to high-demand fields determined by the West Virginia Department of Commerce, such as paralegals and preschool teachers, with programs offered at participating West Virginia public two- or four-year institutions. 🏫

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen
  • A West Virginia resident for at least a year before application
  • Must not have an associate or bachelor’s degree
  • Enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program 
  • Must complete two hours of community service during the term/s of funding
  • Must live in West Virginia for two years after completing a program

Wyoming – Hathaway Scholarship 

Here’s something for all kinds of high school graduates pursuing higher education in Wyoming: the Hathaway Scholarship. It has four merit-based tiers with specific max awards per semester, such as Honors ($1,680), Performance ($1,260), Opportunity ($840), and Provisional ($840). 🏆

Each tier has its own requirements for GPA and high school subjects taken. A need-based scholarship is also available. 👍 Enroll at the University of Wyoming or any of the Wyoming community colleges to be eligible.

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen
  • A Wyoming resident 
  • A graduate of a Wyoming high school or completed GED or a homeschool program
  • Honors Tier:
    • 4 years of Language Arts
    • 4 years of Math
    • 3 years of Social Studies
    • 4 years of Science 
    • 4 years of either Fine and Performing Arts (FPA), Foreign Language (FL), or Career and Technical Education (CTE)
    • 3.5 Hathaway GPA
    • 25 ACT Score
  • Performance Tier:
    • 4 years of Language Arts
    • 4 years of Math
    • 3 years of Social Studies
    • 4 years of Science 
    • 4 years of either FPA, FL, or CTE
    • 3.0 Hathaway GPA
    • 21 ACT Score
  • Opportunity Tier:
    • 4 years of Language Arts
    • 4 years of Math
    • 3 years of Social Studies
    • 4 years of Science 
    • 2 years of either FPA, FL, or CTE
    • 2.5 Hathaway GPA
    • 19 ACT Score
  • Provisional Tier:
    • Must apply this first to a community college and extend the scholarship to add four full-time semesters at the University of Wyoming
    • Current high school graduation requirements for Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science
    • 2 years of either FPA, FL, or CTE
    • 2.5 Hathaway GPA
    • 17 ACT Score or 12 WorkKeys Score

Vermont – 802 Opportunity Grant

Unlike the usual last-dollar grants giving free tuition for high-demand programs only, with this one you’re free to choose anything you like from the 22 certificate programs and 11 associate degrees on offer at the Community College of Vermont. 🥳  

This applies to both new and returning students who have started but not completed their college degrees. Plus, it’s convenient how a number of those eligible courses can be taken either day, night, or online. 👍

✅ Eligibility Criteria: 

  • A US Citizen or eligible non-citizen 
  • A Vermont resident of any age who is a high school graduate or its equivalent
  • Have a family adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less as reflected on FAFSA
  • With no bachelor’s degree
  • Not in default on an education loan

While a college degree is not always a guarantee of career success, it still pays to get an education — even more so when you have these free community college states to choose from. 😊

Is Community College Free? In These 31 States, Yes: Frequently Asked Questions

Is community college free in the US?

Many, but not all, states in the US offer free community college. The ones that do typically cover tuition and mandatory fees but not books, transportation, and other expenses.

Which state has the cheapest community college?

Which states have free community college?

Is it better to go to community college first, then transfer?

Do community colleges offer Bachelor’s degrees?

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