The D.C. State Student Incentive Grant program, which helps financially needy students, has been expanded to include graduate students. The maximum grant for students has been increased from $1,500 to $2,000 a year. The application deadline for the coming school year is Aug. 31.

Although the program is federally funded, the District must match the federal share with local dollars. For the coming school year, about $536,335 in federal funds are available.

During fiscal year 1981, 719 grants totaling $789,322 were awarded to 674 District residents, who attended 148 institutions in 28 states and the District. The grants included $394,661 in federal money, $230,000 in District-appropriated money and $164,661 in funds raised through contributions from churches and community and civic groups.

"The expansion of the program will allow some graduate students who might not have been able to continue their advanced studies to do so," said James A. Buford, director of the D.C. Department of Human Services. "The increase will also benefit students as the cost of tuition continues to escalate."

Undergraduate students are given priority for the grants, which are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

For information on application procedures, call Jane Andersen at 727-3688. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 31 to the Office of State Education Affairs, 614 H St. NW, Room 817, Washington, D.C. 20001.