Financial Aid

Figuring out how to pay for college can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to! There are many government programs dedicated to helping students fund their futures.

Washington state financial aid programs are called opportunity pathways, and include need-based, merit-based, work study, and workforce programs. Discover which programs you qualify for and get resources and guidance on the application process.  

Need-Based Programs

Washington has several options to access financial assistance for students from low- and middle-income families. Eligible students must go to a participating career training, college, university, or technical school to receive aid. 

Washington College Grant
Recent high school graduates and working-age adults can receive money for college or career training. 

College Bound Scholarship
Middle school students can access state financial aid if they enroll in this program and meet the pledge requirements upon graduation from high school.  

State Work Study
Students granted work study are placed in an approved job on- or off-campus to help support their education. 

Passport to Careers
Youth who have been in foster care or experienced homelessness can get support to succeed in college, apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship programs.   

Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
Industry and philanthropic donors provide funding, which is matched 100% by the state, to help students pursue degrees, certificates, and apprenticeships in high-demand trade, healthcare, and STEM fields. 

Opportunity Grant
Students receive aid to complete up to one year of college and a certificate in a high-wage, high-demand field. 

Learn about the colleges and universities that participate in need-based financial aid.  

Merit-Based Programs 

These programs award aid based on background or academic, athletic, or special interest merits. 

American Indian Endowed Scholarship
Students with close cultural ties to an American Indian tribe or community can receive funding for college. 

Workforce Programs 

Workforce programs provide funding or reimbursement for tuition in exchange for accepting positions in communities or fields that need more workers.  

Washington State Educator Workforce
Current teachers, student teachers, paraprofessionals, and those hoping to enter the teaching field can receive financial aid in exchange for teaching in subjects or locations of high need. 

Washington Health Corps
This program supports licensed health professionals providing care in critical shortage communities. 

National Guard Postsecondary Education Grant
Washington National Guard members can get money for college or training. 

Aerospace Loan Program
Students who have been accepted into the Washington Training and Research Center can receive funding for their schooling. 

Financial aid applications 

There are two different applications for financial aid in Washington state: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA). Get information on gathering the documents you’ll need to complete and submit your application. 

Complete the FAFSA if you’re a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen 

Complete the WASFA if you don’t qualify for FAFSA due to immigration status or other reasons 

Find out if you’re an eligible non-citizen 

Reasons why you might want to file a WASFA  

The FAFSA process 

Tips for filling out the FAFSA 

Financial aid appeals

You may need more aid if your circumstances have changed. Learn what situations colleges consider when adjusting aid, what kind of proof you need to provide, and how to request an appeal. 

Request a change to financial aid 

Learn about the financial aid appeals process 

Other Resources

Register for a financial aid info virtual event 

Financial Aid 101 (PDF)  

Financial Aid Calculator 

Glossary of financial aid terms 

Otterbot 24/7 financial aid text support for high school seniors