If there is a state you do not hear much about, chances are it is probably Wyoming. Why is this? For starters, it is the least-populated state in the U.S. with only 576,851 residents recorded in 2020 in its 97,914 sq. miles of area (which ranks tenth in area in the U.S.).

Additionally, the Rocky Mountains dominate the western portion of the state while the High Plains and the Black Hills cover the eastern portion of the state.

The Equality State is a state you should hear more about though. Not just because it was the first state in the country to grant women the right to vote and to have them serve on juries and hold public offices, but because it is home to helpful college financial aid programs for its residents.

Despite there only being two four-year postsecondary institutions and a handful of two-year postsecondary institutions in the state, the helpful college financial aid programs you can find there include the Hathaway Scholarship and the Douvas Scholarship.

Hathaway Scholarship

The Hathaway Scholarship is a merit-based award—though part of it can be a need-based award—that is designed to encourage Wyoming high school graduates to stay in Wyoming to receive a higher education.

The award was created in 2005 and stems from the Wyoming Permanent Mineral Trust Fund, which was originally created in 1974 by Governor Stanley Hathaway, the scholarship’s namesake. This scholarship is also the only scholarship offered to students by the state of Wyoming.

The program is made up of four merit-based scholarships and a single need-based scholarship which is given to students who demonstrate an extreme financial need for funding. The four merit-based awards are called Honors, Performance, Opportunity and Provisional.

All applicants must be Wyoming residents and must complete and submit a Hathaway Scholarship application. High school counselors and Hathaway Scholarship representatives working in the financial aid offices at Wyoming colleges can assist students if they need help with the application. A student can remain eligible to receive a Hathaway Scholarship for up to 48 months (AKA four years) after graduating high school.

Honors

The Honors Scholarship is the toughest academically of the four merit-based awards to receive. In high school, a student must complete:

  • Four years of language arts courses
  • Four years of math courses
    • These courses must include Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and one additional math course.
  • Four years of science courses
    • One year may include an “additional” science course.
  • Four years of any combination of fine and performing arts courses, career and technical education courses and/or foreign language courses
    • Two of the four years of these classes must be sequenced.
  • Three years of social studies courses

To receive the Honors Scholarship, a student must also graduate from a Wyoming high school with a minimum 3.50 GPA and earn at least a 25 on the ACT.

A recipient of the Honors Scholarship can use the award at any Wyoming community college or the University of Wyoming. A student can also receive up to $1,680 per semester from the award to use to cover tuition.

In order to renew the Honors Scholarship in college, a student must:

  • Maintain at least a 2.50 GPA
    • If a student’s GPA drops below a 2.50 but is above a 2.25, they can drop to the “third tier” (Opportunity) of the Hathaway Scholarship and still receive some funding.
    • A student can regain Honors status if their GPA is brought back up to at least a 2.50.
  • Remain continuously enrolled from semester to semester
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress each semester
  • Enroll in and complete:
    • At least six credit hours per semester as a part-time student
    • At least 12 credit hours per semester as a full-time student

Performance

The Performance Scholarship has the exact same course requirements as the Honors Scholarship, though its GPA and test score requirements are a bit looser than the Honors’ requirements.

To receive the Performance Scholarship, a student must graduate from a Wyoming high school with a minimum 3.00 GPA and earn at least a 21 on the ACT.

A recipient of the Performance Scholarship can use the award at any Wyoming community college or the University of Wyoming as well. A student can receive up to $1,260 per semester from the award to use to cover tuition.

In order to renew the Performance Scholarship in college, a student must:

  • Maintain at least a 2.50 GPA
    • If a student’s GPA drops below a 2.50 but is above a 2.25, they can drop to the “third tier” (Opportunity) of the Hathaway Scholarship and still receive some funding.
    • A student can regain Performance status if their GPA is brought back up to at least a 2.50.
  • Remain continuously enrolled from semester to semester
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress each semester
  • Enroll in and complete:
    • At least six credit hours per semester as a part-time student
    • At least 12 credit hours per semester as a full-time student

Opportunity

The Opportunity Scholarship has the exact same language arts, math, social studies and science course requirements as the Honors and Performance Scholarships. They vary when it comes to the fine and performing arts (FPA), career and technical education (CTE), and foreign language (FL) requirements.

A student must complete two years of FPA/CTE/FL courses and they must be sequenced.

A student must also graduate from a Wyoming high school with a 2.50 GPA and earn at least a 19 on the ACT.

A recipient of the Opportunity Scholarship can use the award at any Wyoming community college or the University of Wyoming as well. A student can receive up to $840 per semester from the award to use to cover tuition.

In order to renew the Opportunity Scholarship in college, a student must:

  • Maintain at least a 2.25 GPA
  • Remain continuously enrolled from semester to semester
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress each semester
  • Enroll in and complete:
    • At least six credit hours per semester as a part-time student
    • At least 12 credit hours per semester as a full-time student

Provisional

The Provisional Scholarship is an award that allows for some flexibility when it comes to pursuing a higher education. To be initially eligible for the award, a student must complete in high school:

  • Enough language arts courses required for high school graduation
  • Enough math courses required for high school graduation
    • At least two of the courses need to be Algebra I, Algebra II or Geometry
  • Enough science courses required for high school graduation
  • Enough social studies courses required for high school graduation
  • Two years of any FPA/CTE/FL courses
    • If taking foreign language courses, they must be sequenced.

A student must also graduate from high school with at least a 2.50 GPA and earn at least a 17 on the ACT or earn a 12 on WorkKeys.

The Provisional Scholarship can be used for four full-time college or training program semesters. If the recipient earns a certificate from the program, the scholarship can be extended for an additional four full-time semesters for use at a Wyoming community college. If the student then earns an associate degree at the community college, the scholarship can be extended for an additional four full-time semesters so the student can pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming.

A recipient of the Provisional Scholarship can receive up to $840 per semester from the award to use to cover tuition.

In order to renew the Provisional Scholarship in college, a student must:

  • Maintain at least a 2.25 GPA
  • Remain continuously enrolled from semester to semester
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress each semester
  • Enroll in and complete:
    • At least six credit hours per semester as a part-time student
    • At least 12 credit hours per semester as a full-time student

If a student demonstrates an extreme financial need for funding and qualifies for any of the four merit-based awards, they can apply to receive the additional need-based Hathaway Scholarship award. In order to do this, a student must complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Douvas Scholarship

The Douvas Scholarship is a need-based award given to a first-generation American youth who demonstrates a financial need for funding and shows the motivation and dedication needed to attend a Wyoming college.

The scholarship was founded by the will of Peter George Douvas, who was a Greek immigrant that lived in Wyoming. He left a sum of money and the eligibility guidelines to the Wyoming Department of Education to create the award.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a Wyoming resident
  • Be a college-bound high school senior or be between 18 to 22 years old
  • Be a first-generation American
    • This is defined as someone who was born in the U.S., but whose parents were not born in the U.S.
  • Complete the Douvas Scholarship application online
    • For the 2022-2023 academic year, a student can submit an application between February 1 and April 30, 2022.
  • Have their high school counselor or principal approve the student’s application via a confirmation email
  • Use the scholarship’s funds to partially meet educational expenses during the academic year following the student’s application submission
  • Use the scholarship’s funds at one of the state’s seven public community colleges or the University of Wyoming

The Douvas Scholarship is a highly competitive award as only one scholarship is given out annually. Typically, the scholarship is worth $500.

If a student is selected as the recipient, they will be notified by the last business day in May. A check will then be sent to the student’s college in August and will be credited to their account accordingly.

Major Wyoming Colleges and Universities

Since Wyoming ranks last in state population in the country, it makes sense the state does not have a giant selection of colleges and universities for its residents to choose to attend. The two four-year universities and multiple two-year colleges that are in the state are still solid selections though. These schools include:

  • Central Wyoming College in Riverton (two-year college) (public)
  • Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington (two-year college) (public)
  • Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne (two-year college) (public)
  • Northwest College in Powell (two-year college) (public)
  • Sheridan College in Sheridan (two-year college) (public)
  • University of Wyoming in Laramie (four-year college) (public)
  • Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs (two-year college) (public)
  • Wyoming Catholic College in Lander (four-year college) (private)

Even though Wyoming is the least populated state in the country, its college financial aid programs can make a big, positive impact on its residents looking to receive a higher education.