• Scholarship Smarts
  • Are You Eligible for Scholarships?

I'm Eligible If I Live Where?

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Residency is one of the easiest ways to qualify for a scholarship, so why not take advantage of where you live?

Your state, county, and city residency can qualify you for hundreds of scholarships—including public college scholarships and scholarships sponsored by local businesses and organizations. In fact, the more local the residency requirement, the smaller the pool of applicants will be—increasing your chances of winning.

Residency-Based Scholarships from Public Colleges

Most scholarships at public colleges are for state residents only. State residents pay the taxes or support the lotteries that help fund the schools, so their children receive the benefit. You may automatically be in the running when you apply to the college, but ask the financial aid office about the scholarship application process just to be sure. Exceptions are frequently allowed for military personnel and their families, and for those who fall within "reciprocity agreements," which allow students from neighboring states to get in-state benefits.

Residency-Based Scholarships from Private Sponsors

All kinds of organizations and businesses sponsor scholarships for local residents. These might include service clubs that want to benefit students in their community, a professional association that wants to support students entering a certain profession, and employers based in the community that want to give scholarships to employees and their children. To find local scholarships, start with your high school college counselor. Also check with your town's chamber of commerce, your local library, and local chapters of professional associations related to any career you have in mind.

Proving Your Residency

To meet the residency requirement, you or your parents (if you're under 18) must have lived in the area for at least a year. Some public colleges require you to have lived in their state for two years or to have attended a particular high school for at least three years before applying for the scholarship.

If you're asked to prove your residency, you may need to show that for at least the past year, you or your parents

  • Filed a tax return or registered to vote from a local address
  • Were employed in the area
  • Owned, leased, or rented property in the area
  • Had a driver's license with a local address
  • Received bank statements or utility bills at a local address each month

What's Next?

Use the Scholarship Finder to find scholarships with state residency requirements.

For another way to qualify for scholarships, see Scholarships Where Your Major Matters.

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