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Famous as the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Delaware is also one of the smallest states and it has only eight accredited institutions of higher education. Among them, the University of Delaware is the largest, Wilmington University is the largest private university, and the Delaware College of Art and Design has Associates degrees in the arts.
Students from Delaware who want to attend school in their state might have fewer options for colleges, but they won’t have a shortage of degree programs or fields to choose from. The colleges in Delaware can rival many of the others nationwide, including NCAA Division I sports programs at the University of Delaware and Delaware State.
Paying for school, however, continues to be difficult for many students nationwide — and especially in the First State. The state of Delaware is ranked third for the highest amount of student loan debt, averaging over $34,000 per borrower. Thankfully, there are options available for students who want to attend school in-state.
On this page:
- Getting Financial Aid for College
- State-Based Student Loans in Delaware
- Scholarships in Delaware
- Delaware Grants for College
Getting Financial Aid for College
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the foundational piece of any financial aid process, even if you’re not applying for federal funds. Generally speaking, however, federal funds are where you’ll turn first for help in paying for school.
The FAFSA asks questions about you and your parents’ debt, cash on hand, accounts, and financial obligations to get an idea of what you can reasonably be expected to pay toward your schooling. The federal government sees funding your education as your responsibility, and so your finances will play a role in determining that Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.
Each school publishes a cost of attendance each year, which takes into account tuition, books, room and board, and other fees or expenses that students have to pay. Your financial need is the amount left over of that cost of attendance once the EFC is deducted. Once the government determines the total of your financial need, your school will put together a financial aid package to cover that amount.
If you and your family cannot come up with the EFC, all is not lost. There are still plenty of options available in the form of private student loans, third-party scholarships, and even grants. For students in Delaware, there are a few state-specific options as well.
State-Based Student Loans in Delaware
Delaware has several student loan programs for certain fields and majors. Even if you don’t plan to study one of the eligible degree programs, however, you can still get private student loans in the state to help defray costs.
Delaware Teacher Corps Loans
The Delaware Teacher Corps looks to fill teaching positions in public schools in critical areas of the state. To be eligible, you need to be enrolled full-time in a teaching certification or degree program, have a 2.75 GPA, and be willing to teach up to three years in a Delaware public school in a critical subject area. The loan can be up to the full cost of tuition for your school, and you will have the added benefit of getting one year of your loan forgiven for one year of teaching.
DEXSTA Student Loans
DEXSTA Federal Credit Union is a private lender in Delaware that offers student loans. You can borrow up to $45,000 for undergraduate or $60,000 for graduate school, with a 15-year term. Loan fees are between 2% and 8%, based on creditworthiness.
Christa McAuliffe Teach Incentive Loan Program
This program offers loans up to the amount of tuition, mandatory fees, and other direct educational expenses for those who agree to teach in a Delaware school district. You’ll need a GPA of 3.0 or better, and the deadline to apply is June 3, 2019.
Delaware Nursing Incentive Program
If you’re a Delaware resident looking to become a nurse, this program will loan you $5,000 per academic year, with forgiveness provisions if you work at a state-owned hospital or clinic in the state for at least one year. The deadline to apply is June 3, 2019.
Scholarships in Delaware
Scholarships are competitive programs that award “free money” for school that you won’t have to pay back later. They all have different criteria, but in Delaware, there are plenty of them available for students who need money for school.
Margaret A. Stafford Nursing Scholarship
This scholarship is offered to Delaware residents accepted into a nursing program, in or out of the state. The one-time award is $2,000, and the deadline to apply is March 15. Only one scholarship is awarded per year.
Eleanor B. and Henry H. Stroud, M.D. Memorial Scholarship
The deadline for this scholarship is March 15 each year, and it’s open to Delaware students who are enrolling in medical school, demonstrate academic achievement, and financial need. You can also reapply in successive years for a total of four annual awards, which vary in amount each year.
Delaware State University Inspire Scholarship Program
If you’re planning to attend Delaware State University in the fall semester after graduating high school, you could be eligible for this program, which will pay for your tuition if you keep good grades and engage in volunteer work while in school. To apply, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA.
B. Bradford Barnes Memorial Scholarship
This program pays full tuition, fees, room, board, and books at the University of Delaware for a student that has completed the FAFSA, has a GPA of at least 3.0 and a combined score of 1290 on the SAT or equivalent on the ACT. The deadline to apply is March 4, 2019.
Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship
This is another scholarship given for academic achievement, with preference given to political science majors. The program pays for all tuition, room, board, books, and fees at the University of Delaware or Delaware State University. To apply, you need to complete the application at the Delaware Higher Education Office’s website.
Diamond State Scholarship Program
The Diamond State Scholarship offers $1,250 per academic year to high school seniors with a GPA of at least 3.0 and a 1290 score or better on the SAT. You can also be already enrolled as a full-time student in an undergraduate degree program. The deadline to apply is March 4, 2019, and approximately 50 awards per year are given.
Herman M. Holloway, Sr. Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is given in honor of the first African-American State Senator in Delaware and is open to students with a GPA of 3.0 or better and a 1000 score on the SAT. It pays tuition, fees, room, board, and books at Delaware State University. There is only one award per year, and the deadline to apply is March 4, 2019.
Delaware Grants for College
Grants don’t have to be paid back after graduation. Unlike scholarships, they are based more on financial need than academics or other achievements. Most grants are awarded as part of the FAFSA financial aid process and can be applied for by simply completing the FAFSA.
Governor’s Education Grant for Working Adults
This grant is for underemployed working adults who want to acquire new or enhanced skills that will help them increase their earning potential. To qualify, you must be over 18, a high school graduate, and a resident of Delaware. The maximum grant is $2,000, and the deadline to apply is rolling based on your enrollment date.
Scholarship Incentive Program
The ScIP, as it’s called, is a grant offered to students who complete the FAFSA, as part of their total financial aid package. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2019 for the FAFSA portion, and you must submit a high school transcript by July 1, 2019. The award amounts vary and are made after Aug. 1, 2019.
Educational Benefits for Children of Deceased Veterans and Others
This is a specialized grant offered to the children of Delaware veterans who died as a result of their military service, were held as prisoners of war, or are declared missing in action. It is also open to children of state police officers who died on duty, or state employees of the Department of Transportation who died as a result of their job duties. In some cases, the grant will pay for out-of-state schools as well. The application is due six to eight weeks before your classes begin, and the award amounts vary.
Author: Dave Rathmanner