According to the Institute for College Access & Success, more than half of students who attend public and private nonprofit four-year institutions in the state of Washington graduate with student loan debt.
Student loans can have a crippling effect on your life after school. You can end up struggling to afford your payments, and you might even have to put off major life goals, such as buying a home, until you can pay down your debt.
Grants can be a great way to pay for school. Find out what Washington grants exist and how you can apply.
Washington grants for state residents
Grants are one of the best ways to pay for college. Unlike other forms of financial aid, such as student loans, grants are “free money.” In most cases, you don’t have to repay the money you receive in grants. Even better, you can apply for and receive multiple grants to reduce your total education cost.
When it comes to Washington grants, there’s one state-offered grant available.
State Need Grant
The State Need Grant (SNG) provides money to students who have financial need and are pursuing a postsecondary education. For the 2015-2016 academic year, nearly 69,000 students received this grant to offset education costs.
To qualify, your household income must be less than 70% of Washington state’s median family income. As of the 2017-2018 school year, that means a family of four could not earn more than $60,500 and qualify for the grant.
Grant recipients can receive up to $9,553 per year, depending on their household income and choice of school.
If you’re not pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you might still qualify for the grant. Four-year schools, two-year colleges, and some career and technical schools are eligible. You can see the complete list of participating schools on the Washington Student Achievement Council website.
Washington doesn’t require a special application for the SNG. All you need to do to apply is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
However, if you cannot complete the FAFSA because of your immigration status, you might still be able to qualify for the SNG. You can apply for the grant by completing the Washington Application for State Financial Aid.
Other state-offered financial aid
Washington offers only one grant, but it has other forms of financial aid available, including scholarships and work-study programs.
Washington state offers three scholarships to students in need.
1. College Bound Scholarship
The College Bound Scholarship is offered to low-income students who might otherwise be unable to afford a college education. Exact award amounts vary, but the scholarship covers the cost of tuition, some fees, and a book allowance.
The College Bound program works differently than many other scholarships. While most awards require you to apply in your last year of high school, the College Bound Scholarship requires each family to complete and submit the application materials by June 30 of the student’s eighth-grade year.
Then, the student must meet the financial aid eligibility requirements and complete the FAFSA in their senior year of high school.
2. Passport to College Promise Scholarship
Students who were in foster care can receive up to $4,500 through the Passport to College Promise Scholarship. Last year, approximately 340 students received the award.
The money can be used to cover not only tuition and fees but also housing, transportation, and some personal expenses.
To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
After your 16th birthday, you must have spent at least one year in foster care in Washington state.
You must enroll in college at least half time by your 22nd birthday.
You must be a Washington state resident.
You cannot pursue a degree in theology.
You must be working toward a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree.
To apply, complete the Passport consent form.
3. American Indian Endowed Scholarship
Students who have financial need and close social or cultural ties to an American-Indian community in Washington might qualify for up to $2,000 through the American Indian Endowed Scholarship.
To qualify, students must do the following:
Complete the scholarship application form.
Attach a detailed statement describing your connection to an American-Indian community in the state.
Attach a separate statement explaining how you’ll use your education to benefit the American-Indian community in Washington.
Attach your transcripts from the past five years of school.
Attach at least three letters of recommendation.
Complete the FAFSA.
Make sure you review the detailed application instructions for scholarship information.
The Washington work-study program is for low- and middle-income students. Students who qualify for the program get an approved on- or off-campus job with a participating employer to help pay for school.
To participate in the work-study program, you must be a Washington resident. You must not be in default on any state or federal student loans, and you must enroll in an eligible program.
You must also make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. If you don’t attend class, you could be forced to repay some or all of the money you received through the program.
To be considered for the work-study program, you need to complete the FAFSA and be authorized to work in the United States.
Finding free money
Although there are a limited number of Washington grants available, it’s possible to find other sources of aid in the form of outside grants and scholarships. For help finding opportunities, check out the 19 best places to find free money for college.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 2/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.23% – 13.23%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.20% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 10.11%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|