Washington: Financial Aid & Scholarships

Grants and scholarships in Washington are referred to as “Opportunity Pathways,” with programs ranging from merit-based scholarships for gifted students to need-based grants. Whatever your story, Washington offers a clear path (and assistance) in your pursuit of higher education.

The state of Washington has its own deadline for state aid.


After October 1st, 2019 –  Grants are made until funds are depleted. So make sure you apply ASAP after the 2020-2021 FAFSA opens.

Federal Aid in Washington State

Start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for a chance to receive the Pell Grant (up to $5,920); the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), up to $4,000 for low-income students; and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH), awarding approximately $3,700. 

Need-Based Aid in Washington State

Low or middle-income students in Washington are eligible for a variety of “Opportunity Pathways” to pave their way to higher education:

The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) is a generous aid program supporting low-and-middle-income students pursuing careers in high-demand sectors, including aerospace, technology, engineering, and health care. Underwritten by partners like Boeing and Microsoft, WSOS scholarships can cover as much as $22,500 of a student’s total college costs, and recipients can also gain work experience prior to graduation.
The State Need Grant (SNG) program helps the lowest-income students pursue a degree, upgrade their skill sets, or explore new career options. Students must choose from a list of eligible Washington institutions, and eligibility is determined by an income chart, proportionate to household size.
The College Bound Scholarship incentivizes young students to go to college through a system of pledges made in middle school. Students receive aid upon fulfillment of those requirements according to a sliding scale. 
The State Work-Study program is a great financial aid option for low or middle-income students who prefer not to rely as much on student loans, allowing them to secure an on-or off-campus job to help them pay their way. Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA® for U.S. citizens, or by WASFA submission for undocumented students.
Opportunity Grants aid students below the poverty level, allowing them to pursue a certification or one-year degree from a technical or community college, provided they pursue a high-demand career.

Funding for Special Considerations

If you are a student planning to pursue a particular course of study, Washington State offers many aid programs to help you obtain a degree, such as Teacher Grant programs, the Aerospace Loan Program, the Health Professionals Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs, and the John R. Justice State Loan Repayment Program (for attorneys working in public defense). Aid programs for other special circumstances include the following:

The Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) can be filled out by undocumented or non-citizen students classified as DREAMers, allowing them to qualify for financial assistance in Washington State.
The American Indian Endowed Scholarship offers aid to students with close cultural ties to Native American tribes located within Washington state.
The Passport to College Promise Scholarship program supports former foster students in the pursuit of college education, offering aid towards tuition, room and board, fees, books, and other expenses. 
Whether you have a career path in mind already, or simply need financial assistance to pursue higher education, Washington State is prepared to help.