Financial Aid Toolkit
Welcome to the Toolkit!
This toolkit contains a host of resources supporting the Washington College Grant and the financial aid application process, including:
The full list of toolkit resources and related websites can be found in the tabs below.
Putting it to use
The toolkit has many potential uses—here are some quick ideas:
- Share our website resources in your newsletters and emails.
- Encourage your students to engage with Otterbot, a free texting service designed to help Washington high school seniors 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.
- Use our WCG messaging slideshow on your hallway monitors and cafeteria screens, and in career centers. Or print out the slides for display on bulletin boards or in classrooms.
- Print out Washington College Grant handouts or flyers as takeaways for your students, families, or customers. Note that several translations are available.
- Promote the ready-made social media images on your social media channels.
Please do let us know if there is additional information you would like to see added to the toolkit. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Messaging Slideshow: We designed these high-level messages to accomplish three things:
- Draw attention.
- Quickly highlight a potential value to the audience.
- Direct the audience to resources to take the next step. We have compiled these messages into a slide deck titled “Think You Can’t Afford College or Career Education?” The slides are a potential resource for career centers, classrooms, worksource centers, libraries, and more. They also could be used as social media images. The messages are intended to pique viewers’ interest in continued education and make them question false assumptions around financial aid accessibility and college and career education affordability.
- Educators and partners can learn how to best support students through the financial aid application process.
Handouts & Flyers: Includes the following:
- Washington College Grant print-friendly flyer - gives an overview of the new Washington College Grant and a link to get more information. Available in several languages.
- WEA Flyer & Translations - contains copies of a WCG promotional flyer produced by the Washington Education Association, including translated versions in 10 languages.
- Ask Otterbot half-page handout - helps College Bound Scholarship students sign-up for financial aid texting assistance from WSAC.
- 5 Financial Aid Myths handout - designed to dispel common myths related to financial aid. Available in English and Spanish.
- What about College Bound? - print-friendly handout - explains how CBS and WCG work together to give students opportunities.
- Governor Inslee’s financial aid letter - In December 2019, Governor Inslee wrote a letter to high school seniors, informing them about the groundbreaking changes for financial aid in Washington. WSAC shared this letter with high school principals and encouraged them to send to seniors in their school. Educators and others can share this letter with both students and parents to raise awareness about Washington College Grant.
- This toolkit contains several ready-made social media images for FAFSA, WASFA, and WCG promotion. Follow @WSACouncil for access to more social media messages for redistribution.
- We’ve developed 8.5x11 flyers/signs that can be placed on tables, shared at parent conferences, or displayed on the walls in halls and classrooms. The flyers/signs build off our core messages and hopefully leave recipients curious and willing to take the next step (talk to a counselor or visit the website).
You will find helpful resources and information for the following programs on our websites:
- The Washington College Grant (WCG - formerly the State Need Grant) is one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country. The grant gives more money to more students for more kinds of education after high school. From welding to nursing, English to computer science—a one-year certificate or a four-year degree—the Washington College Grant can help students of all ages achieve their educational goals.
- Funding is guaranteed for eligible students. The guarantee of financial aid can help reduce the affordability barriers that currently prevent students from pursuing college and career education.
- Updated weekly, the dashboard provides public-facing, aggregate district- and state-level comparison data for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unfortunately, Washington’s past FAFSA completion rates have been low. When considering high school students expected to graduate in the state, 55 percent completed their FAFSA application last year.
- The Plan Your Future page provides information on career exploration, applying to colleges, state financial aid programs, and more for high school juniors and seniors.
- Applying for financial aid is a crucial first step toward an affordable degree or credential. This is especially true for students from low- and middle-income families. If students don’t apply for financial aid, they can’t get scholarships, grants, or loans from schools or state and federal financial aid programs. This web page provides information on both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).
- The College Bound Scholarship is an early commitment of state financial aid to eligible students who sign up in middle school and fulfill the scholarship pledge. Visitors to the site can find information on College Bound eligibility and access. Counselors will also find a host of resources to help parents and students understand and access the program.
- This includes the 12th Year Campaign Junior/Senior Student Workbook, with information related to college applications, financial applications, understanding award letters, and more. College and Career Pathways handouts accompany the 12th Year Campaign Junior/Senior Student Workbook. The handouts feature information on multiple pathways, as well as admissions and financial aid considerations for students with unique circumstances. This year, the 12th Year Campaign is hosting virtual financial aid info and filing events to help students and families apply for college and financial aid.
- Otterbot is a free texting service designed to help Washington high school seniors 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. After a student signs up for Otter, they will receive periodic messages with need-to-know financial aid information, resources, suggestions, dates, and deadlines. When a student gets a text from Otter, they may follow-up with questions by replying directly to the message.
- The Passport to Careers program helps students who have experienced foster care or unaccompanied homelessness to prepare for and succeed in college, apprenticeships, or pre-apprenticeship programs.