What Is a State College?

A state college is one funded by a state government. State colleges are often less expensive to attend than private universities. State rules and regulations apply to how each institution is administered, with specific guidelines relating to student residency.

State Colleges

State colleges receive funding from the state government, which helps institutions to offset their operating expenses. At most state colleges, few academic scholarships are available. Students can apply for financial aid, like grants, loans and work study opportunities by using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Important Facts About State Colleges

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent for undergraduate programs, bachelor's degree for graduate programs
Online Availability Many schools offer degree programs fully online
College Preparation Skills Willingness to learn, reading comprehension, study skills, time management, memory recall, critical thinking, analytical ability, stress management

Residency Requirements

Each state has different eligibility requirements for residency. Residency eligibility is important because the state provides some educational benefits for residents only. Tuition costs and scholarship offerings are some of the things that may be impacted by residency status. Each state has specific rules about the age of a student, length of residency in the state and citizenship status. For example, the University of Alabama determines eligibility based on whether or not an individual makes a permanent home in the state.

Each state also determines what is required to establish residency in the state. The University of Alabama states that an immigrant or refugee who has a visa that prohibits establishing a domicile in the state will not be given residential status. The university also states that simply owning property in Alabama does not qualify a person for residency status. Those who move to the state for educational purposes only are not considered residents. To find out the residency criteria at a school you may be interested in, consult the institution's website or contact the admissions office.

Financial Aid

The Department of Education provides about 60% of all student aid through loans, grants and work-study programs. The Department of Education recommends that a student seeking financial aid visit the department's Financial Student Aid website for information on costs and schools that participate in the Federal Student Aid program. Aid is often available for online courses from a state college if they courses meet program requirements.

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