PROJECTStrengthening State Student Grant Aid

State need-based grant programs are designed to help students from low- and moderate-income households access and succeed in higher education. But limitations on eligibility, program rules, and other restrictions may keep funding from students who need it the most. Well-informed policymakers can design state grant programs to improve student outcomes and create a more efficient and accessible system, increasing educational attainment and reducing student debt.

In this series of reports and issue briefs, we analyze the New Jersey and Texas state grant aid programs and provide recommendations for improving access to the state grant programs and serving more eligible low- and moderate-income students.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s state grant program delivers the highest level of need-based aid per student in the country. And the state’s major grant program, the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG), funds all eligible students, rather than excluding students when the funding runs out. But different levels of grant aid for enrollment in different institutions within sectors, combined with a confidential need analysis formula, make it difficult for students to predict how much support they will receive. Large differences in award levels create tensions among higher education institutions both within and across the public and private sectors.

New Jersey’s State Grant Program

Issue Papers:
Funding Students at Different Types of Institutions
How Can New Jersey Increase Transparency in TAG Award Amounts across Colleges?
How Does the TAG Program Interact with Pell Grant Aid?
Structuring TAG Awards to Promote Completion
TAG and “Free College” Programs


Texas state grant aid programs provide significant support to many low- and moderate-income state residents pursuing postsecondary education. But, because of limited funding, not all eligible students receive state grants, and students often cannot predict whether they will receive aid, especially if they apply to different types of institutions. Each of the three major state grant programs—the Toward EXcellence, Access, and Success (TEXAS) grant, the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG), and the Texas Equalization Grant—serve only a fraction of eligible students, with TEOG for community college students funding the smallest share.

A Review of State Grant Aid in Texas

Issue Papers:
Can the TEXAS Grant Program Support Transfer Students?
Funding Students at Different Types of Institutions
Reconsidering the Requirement to Cover Tuition and Fees with Grant Aid for State Aid Recipients
Rethinking the TEXAS Grant Academic Priority Standards

Research Areas Education Taxes and budgets
Policy Centers Center on Education Data and Policy