This is one of a series of the Changing Direction documents produced to foster greater understanding of key issues related to establishing stronger alignment of financial aid and financing policies. The primary objective of this report is to shed light on the topic of institutionally and state funded grants to students attending public higher education institutions. While there has been a fair amount of research conducted on state financial aid, much less is known about how institutional grants are used in public colleges and universities. This study uses data from a nationally representative survey of the U.S. Department of Education to analyze the characteristics of students receiving these grants and whether the awarding of these grants is related to persistence and degree attainment. A secondary objective is to familiarize state and institutional policymakers with the type of data available from the federal government that could be used for conducting their own analyses of student persistence.