Financial Aid Overview Video (6 minutes)
Financial aid is money to help pay for college. It comes from the federal and state governments, colleges and universities, banks, and organizations. In order to receive financial aid, you must apply.
Applying for financial aid is a separate process from applying for admission to a college. You have to do both. To receive financial aid, you must apply for it using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov) or the Washington Application for State Financial Aid or WASFA (http://readysetgrad.org/wasfa). Students need only file one application, either the FAFSA or the WASFA. Not sure which application you need file, stop by the CCRC and staff will assist you. Colleges use the results of the FAFSA or WASFA to create a financial aid package.
Very few students get all of their financial aid for college from one source. When you are searching for financial aid, consider a wide variety of options and apply to as many programs as possible.
- Aid from the Federal Government: The federal government generally awards financial aid to students from low-income The largest federal grant program is the Pell Grant program. The federal government also offers other grants and loans to help students pay for their education and subsidizes work-study jobs at various colleges and universities.
- Aid from State Government: The state of Washington awards financial aid to students from low- and moderate-income
- Washington State Need Grants are awarded to qualifying Washington residents attending Washington postsecondary institutions as undergraduate students.
- The state subsidizes work study jobs at schools across the state.
- Aid from Colleges: In addition to administering federal and state aid programs, many colleges and universities have their own scholarship, loan and work programs. These may include:
- Alumni-sponsored awards.
- Privately sponsored scholarships.
- Athletic awards.
- College funds used for financial aid.
Some awards are based on financial need. Others are based on your academic achievement, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity, community activities, artistic talents, athletic ability, field of study or special hobbies, experiences, and interests.
- Aid from Your Community: Non-profit organizations, foundations, and businesses often provide scholarships as a community service. To find these programs, talk to your counselor or check out the scholarship finder on theWashBoard.org.
Applying for Aid (Financial Aid Information from Washington Student Achievement Council)
There are affordable college and career training opportunities for everyone. The first, best step is to apply for financial aid.
- Applications for the 2021-22 school year are available as of October 1, 2020. Get started on the financial aid process by talking to your parents or guardians about the process and registering for an FSA ID.
- Think you can’t afford college or career education? Think again! Students and families can use the financial aid calculator to estimate potential financial aid.
- Sign up for Otterbot, a free texting service designed to help Washington students navigate financial aid for college and career education. Students can access Otterbot via text message 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting "Hi Otter" to 360-928-7281.
- The 12th Year Campaign is hosting virtual financial aid info and filing events to help students and families apply for college and financial aid.
- File your FAFSA or WASFA financial aid application now. It's never too late—you can still get money for fall 2020. There are many sources of money and kinds of aid available to continue your education—the only way to know for sure if you qualify is to apply.
- If you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA due to immigration status, you may still qualify for some state financial aid and scholarships using the WASFA.
COVID information & resources
If someone in your family has lost a job or is working less, colleges may be able to provide more financial aid. Learn more about how to request changes to financial aid if your circumstances have changed.
Net Price Calculator: Find out how much your post-high school education will cost.
Look for the Net Price Calculator on each college and university's web site. The U.S. Department of Education requires that all postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV federal student aid programs make a Net Price Calculator available for use online. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) defines net price as “the net price for first-time, full-time degree or certificate-seeking students”.
This website, sponsored by the US Department of Education, links to net price calculators at different schools.
COLLEGE PLANNING CALCULATOR Sponsored by Sallie Mae (Student Loans Institution)
Get Money for College or Job Training With Washington College Grant
Washington College Grant (WCG) gives more money to more people for more kinds of education and training beyond high school. WCG is not reserved for valedictorians or athletes—it is available to all eligible Washington residents, including undocumented students. If you meet the residency and income requirements, you have money waiting for you.
Washington College Grant can help you access many types of education and training:
- Public and private colleges and universities
- Workforce and training programs
- Approved apprenticeship programs
WCG amounts vary based on income, family size, and program cost. An eligible student from a family of four with income of $56,000 or less per year would get a full award. What does that mean? For example, public college tuition would likely be free for a family with three children and a single parent making $25 per hour. For middle-income families, grant amounts are lower. But even someone from a family of four making up to $102,000 per year can get some money to help pay for college or training.
Students and families can use the financial aid calculator to estimate their potential WCG award, but the only way to know for sure whether you qualify is to apply for financial aid. Applications for the 2022-23 academic year are now open.
Washington College Grant helps make college or job training affordable. Learn more at wsac.wa.gov/WCG.