Despite being the third smallest state in the United States with an area of only 5,567 square miles, Connecticut is home to many wonderful, reputable and historic colleges and universities. The Nutmeg State’s financial aid programs are on the same wonderful level as well.

The Connecticut Office of Higher Education helps provide Connecticut students with two extremely helpful college financial aid programs including the Roberta B. Willis Need-Merit Scholarship and the Roberta B. Willis Need-Based Grant while other third-party sources also have established financial aid programs to help Connecticut students attend colleges.

Roberta B. Willis Need-Merit Scholarship Program

The Roberta B. Willis Need-Merit Scholarship Program was created to help graduating high school seniors afford to attend in-state colleges.

To be eligible for the scholarship program, a student must:

  • Be a Connecticut resident,
  • Be a graduating high school senior,
  • Been in the top 20% (or better) of their junior year class rank,
  • Have scored at least a 1200 on the SAT OR at least a 25 on the ACT,
  • Be enrolled to attend a Connecticut public or non-profit private college,
  • Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 15, and
  • Complete and submit the Roberta B. Willis Need-Merit Scholarship application to their high school guidance counselor or office by February 15.

Full-time undergraduate students who are enrolled in a 4-year program of study can receive up to $5,250 per year. Full-time undergraduate students who are enrolled in a 2-year program of study can receive up to $4,650 per year.

Roberta Willis was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 2001-2017. Previously, she was a teacher in Connecticut schools from 1982 to 2000.

Roberta B. Willis Need-Based Grant Program

The Roberta B. Willis Need-Based Grant Program was created to help the students who need additional funding the most to attend college; grades are not as big of a factor in choosing recipients for the grant.

To be eligible for the grant, a student must:

  • Be a Connecticut resident,
  • Attend a Connecticut public or non-profit private college,
  • Complete and file FAFSA,
  • Have a federal Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) within the appropriate range, and
  • Contact their college financial aid office to ensure they are not missing any institutional filing deadlines.

Full-time undergraduate students who are deemed recipients of the grant can receive up to $4,500 in funding whether their program of study is a 2-year program or a 4-year program.

Bob Eddy Scholarship Program to Foster Journalism Careers

The Bob Eddy Scholarship Program to Foster Journalism Careers is presented by the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Foundation Inc. to help students decide to pursue journalism careers. This program provides 4 to 5 students with a scholarship each year.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a college junior or senior for the upcoming fall semester,
  • Attend an accredited Connecticut postsecondary institution OR be a Connecticut resident who is attending a university in any state or country,
  • Complete and submit the online application form,
  • Submit PDFs or other files of journalism work or schoolwork examples,
  • Write and submit a 500-word essay on a current event that captured the student’s interest and why, along with how they would have better covered the event, and
  • Mail unofficial college transcripts to the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, 4 recipients were selected for the scholarship. Two recipients were given $1,000 each, one was given $1,500 and one was given $2,500, which is the maximum amount of money the scholarship can be.

Bob Eddy was the publisher and editor of the Hartford Courant from 1962 to 1974. He was instrumental in expanding the publication’s coverage into the Hartford suburbs. On top of that, he served in World War II as a Military Intelligence Agent and was the founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The BBB Student Ethics Scholarship Award – Connecticut

The BBB Student Ethics Scholarship Award – Connecticut is presented by the Connecticut branch of the Better Business Bureau to college-bound high school students who personify and demonstrate high ethics via leadership, community service, overall integrity and academic standing.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a Connecticut resident,
  • Apply during their senior year of high school;
  • Be attending college the following academic year;
  • Provide documentation of:
    • Leadership in extracurricular activities, work and/or school-related activities and include any awards, honors and/or offices held;
    • Community service in activities outside of school in the community and include any awards, honors and/or offices held;
    • Academic achievement with a copy of the student’s most recent high school transcript, a description of the student’s postsecondary plans and a list of any awards received relating to academic achievement;
  • Write a concise, 500-word or less essay on how the student’s qualities, principles and actions have helped build their character, why character building is important and how the student motivates others to become character builders;
  • Provide 3 letters of recommendations from role models, employers, teachers, etc. (300 words or less each); and
  • Complete and submit the scholarship application online or mail a print application to the Connecticut BBB.

Scholarship applications are then reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of local business leaders and local academic community members. This panel makes a selection based on leadership criteria (20%), community service contributions (20%), academic accomplishments (30%) and the quality of the essay (30%) based on how much everything demonstrates the student’s commitment to high ethical behavior.

If a student is selected as the recipient of the scholarship, they can use the funding at the accredited college or university of their choice. They need to use the funds within 4 years of receiving them though.

The funds are given directly to the school’s bursar/financial aid office to be credited to the student’s account. These funds can then be used for tuition, books, room and board, and other related items. Funding for the scholarship varies each year but can typically be around $2,500.

The BBB-CT also offers Student Ethics Scholarships for military families and senior students belonging to diverse groups.

Major Connecticut Colleges and Universities

The Constitution State is home to some extremely good colleges. Some of the popular colleges and universities in the state include:

  • Central Connecticut State University in New Britain,
  • Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic,
  • Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven,
  • University of Connecticut in Storrs (main campus), and
  • Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

While the state of Connecticut is not the largest state in square miles in the country, it sure does play a large role in helping its college-bound high school students afford to receive a higher education.