Financial Aid

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How to Apply for Financial Aid 

You must apply to qualify for financial aid. All federal financial aid programs, most programs offered by the State of Washington, and many college programs require you to complete and submit the FAFSA. If you are undocumented, have DACA, or are otherwise ineligible for federal financial aid due to immigration status, you should complete the WASFA instead of the FAFSA for consideration for state aid. 

You should aim to complete either the FAFSA or WASFA as close to November 1 as possible because financial aid dollars are limited and often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Important FAFSA Facts
If you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or a FAFSA-eligible non-citizen, you should complete the FAFSA for federal and state aid consideration. 

  • Make sure you visit the official FAFSA website. It is FREE to file the FAFSA! Do not apply through websites that require you to pay a fee. You can complete, submit, and track your application. However, if you do not have Internet access, you can get a paper copy by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (433-3243). 

  • There is an online chat function to answer any questions students or parents might have. 

  • You should file the FAFSA every year you attend school. 

Important WASFA Facts 

  • If you are an undocumented student in Washington State or not eligible for the FAFSA due to immigration status, you may qualify for some state financial aid. 

  • Make sure you visit the official WASFA website. It is FREE to file the WASFA! You should file the WASFA for every year you finish school. 

  • You and your parents will report income from two years prior to the current year. 

Types of Aid 

Very few students get all their financial aid for college from one source. When searching for financial aid, consider a wide variety of options and apply to as many programs as possible. 


Grants do not have to be repaid if you successfully complete the courses you were enrolled in. They are given to students who have high financial need. Most grants come from the federal and state governments. 



Scholarships do not have to be repaid if you successfully complete your coursework. Most scholarships come from organizations and colleges for good grades, cultural or religious background, sports, and/or unique talents.

Work Study 

Work study helps you earn money to pay for your education by working a part-time job offered through college. There are federal, state, and institutional work study programs. 



Loans for students have lower interest rates than most other types of loans. Unlike grants or scholarships, loans must be repaid with interest when you finish college, even if you do not graduate. Banks, colleges, and other institutions offer student loans. 

State Financial Aid: Washington College Grant 

The new Washington College Grant (WCG) gives more money to more students for more types of education after high school. It makes education and training beyond high school affordable. WCG includes more programs and types of credentials, and more families are eligible. 

Who is eligible? 

WCG is open to students right out of high school, as well as to adult students. WA Grant award amounts vary based on income, family size, and school or program cost. For example, in 2023, an eligible student from a family of four with an income of $64,500 or less per year would get a total award. Undocumented and other immigrant students may also be eligible. Partial grants are available for families making up to the state’s median family income, around $107,000 for a family of four. Recipients must meet WCG program requirements and attend an approved college or training program. 

What does it cover? 

The maximum award amount—which, for example, in 2023-24 was $11,705— will cover full tuition at any in-state public college or university, including community or technical colleges, approved apprenticeship programs, or provide a comparable amount toward tuition and other education-related costs at an approved private college or career training program. Amounts vary based on income, family size, and the school or program attended. 

How do I apply? 

There is no separate application for the Washington College Grant. Students should complete a federal or state financial aid application (FAFSA or WASFA), which colleges will use to determine eligibility and make awards. Students can now apply for financial aid for the following school year. For more information about the types of aid, FAFSA, and WASFA, visit, talk to your high school counselor, or contact the college financial aid office. 

College Bound Scholarship 

The scholarship is available to 7th- and 8th-grade students whose family income meets the guidelines or who are in foster care. Some 9th-grade students may have been able to apply if they met specific requirements. The scholarship covers tuition (at comparable public colleges), some fees, and a small book allowance. Foster youth in 7th-12th grade, up to age 21, who have not graduated from high school, are automatically enrolled in the College Bound Scholarship. Students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch in 7th or 8th grade or newly eligible in 9th grade were automatically enrolled. 

What is the student commitment or College Bound Pledge? 

  • Graduate from a Washington State high school or homeschool program - confirm with your school if your district requires a certain GPA to graduate. Students must graduate with a cumulative 2.0 GPA if they plan to attend a four-year public or private college. 

  • There are no GPA requirements for students who plan to attend a community college or technical school as of autumn 2023. 

  • Get accepted to and attend one of the over 65 participating colleges, universities, or programs within one year of graduating high school. 

  • Have no felony convictions. 

  • Be income eligible, as determined by your college, using your FAFSA or WASFA information. 

If you have questions about your College Bound application, please contact the program at 888-535- 0747 Option 1. Visit for more information and award amounts

Scholarships is a free web-based resource for Washington students attending college in and outside of Washington. It helps students quickly identify scholarships for which they are eligible by showing only those scholarship opportunities that match their profile data. Students’ private information is kept confidential. 

Scholarships are diverse and support a wide variety of student interests and accomplishments. 

  • One-third of listed scholarships require a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

  • Financial need is not a basis for more than half of scholarships. 

  • Many scholarships are renewable, so you may be eligible for continued scholarship funding. 

Scholarship Search Engines and Databases

Information For Undocumented & Other Non-Citizen Students 

Resident Tuition 

At public colleges and universities in Washington State, students who are undocumented or non-citizens may be eligible for lower in-state tuition rates instead of the more expensive non-resident tuition rates. 

Undocumented Students 

There are three criteria you must meet to qualify for in-state tuition: 

  • Graduate from high school (or earn a GED or equivalent). 

  • Maintain a primary residence in Washington for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before their first term at the college determining residency. 

    • Note: The Washington residence must be for purposes other than college. If students take any courses at another Washington college during the prior 12 months, they cannot have taken more than six credits in any given term. Students exceeding that limit must prove that they have a Washington residence for non-college reasons. 

  • Sign an affidavit (written promise) affirming eligibility and promising to become a U.S. permanent resident when eligible to apply. The affidavit is part of the WASFA financial aid application. 

Other Non-citizen Students 

Many other non-citizens, including permanent residents, refugees, asylees, and certain visa types, may be eligible for resident tuition through the criteria above or through other ways. 

State Financial Aid 

Undocumented and non-citizen students who meet resident tuition requirements may also qualify for Washington State financial aid programs, even if they are ineligible for federal financial aid due to immigration status. 

Students must meet individual program, income, and residency requirements for the Washington College Grant, the College Bound Scholarship, State Work Study, and Passport to Careers. 

How to Apply

  • Undocumented Students: Undocumented students use the free WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid) to apply for state financial aid. 

  • Other Non-citizen Students: U.S. permanent residents (those with a green card), refugees, asylees, and other non citizen students apply for aid using the FAFSA. The FAFSA also requires students to have a valid Social Security Number. Check the Federal Student Aid website to see if you are eligible. Non-citizen students who do not qualify for federal aid apply for state aid using the WASFA. Students who don’t know which application to file can use the WASFA questionnaire to find out at: 

Confused? That is ok and normal. Find a virtual or an in-person 12th Year Campaign event to help you file: 

For more information on any of these topics, please visit:

Information for Youth in Foster Care 

If you have experienced foster care or unaccompanied homelessness, money and resources are available to help you go to college – including vocational training, two and 4-year options - for most Washington State schools. 

College Preparation Programs 

  • Supplemental Education Transition Planning Program (SETuP). SETuP can provide you and your foster family with information about post-high school education and training opportunities. 

  • Extended Foster Care Program. This program allows you, at age 18, to voluntarily agree to continue receiving foster care services, including placement services. At the same time, you complete high school or a post-high school academic or vocational program or participate in a program or activity designed to promote employment. 

Foster Care-Specific Financial Aid Programs 

  • College Bound Scholarship. The College Bound Scholarship is a state-funded program managed by the Washington Student Achievement Council. It is an early promise of state financial aid to help pay for education after high school. The scholarship combines with other state financial aid to cover college tuition at similar public college rates, some fees, and some money for books. If you have been in foster care at any time from grade 7 to age 21, you are automatically enrolled in the College Bound Scholarship program. You will still need to apply for financial aid with a FAFSA or a WASFA at the beginning of your senior year. 

  • Passport to Careers Program. This program helps foster youth and unaccompanied homeless youth prepare for and succeed in college, apprenticeships, or preapprenticeship programs. Students receive a scholarship that helps with the cost of attending college, support services, and priority consideration for the State Work Study program. The Passport to Apprenticeship Opportunities program assists students in registered apprenticeship or preapprenticeship programs with occupationalspecific costs.

  • Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program. This national program offers financial assistance to eligible youth to attend an approved college, university, vocational or technical college. You may receive funding for qualified school-related expenses, including Running Start. Funding is limited and available to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis. ETV can help pay tuition, fees, books, housing, food, transportation, and other educational costs. 

  • Washington State Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth. This scholarship helps youth in foster care continue their education and earn a college degree. Scholarship amounts vary depending on the college that you attend. It is available for up to five years. You must be enrolled full-time and maintain satisfactory grades to renew the scholarship each year.