Media Release: Apply for financial aid

Apply for financial aid to access Washington College Grant and other state, federal aid

September 30, 2019

Updated at 2:12 p.m. on 9/30/2019

Olympia—October 1 marks the first day students can apply for financial aid to go to college in the 2020-21 school year. Next school year is also when the Washington College Grant will be fully funded. The grant will give more money to more students for more kinds of education and training after high school. Touted as one of the most generous and flexible programs in the country, it will help low- and middle-income people of all ages take their next step. The grant currently supports students pursuing certificates and degree programs. Beginning in 2020-21 it will also support people in registered apprenticeships. 

Applying for financial aid is a crucial first step for college and career training. Before students can receive any state or federal financial aid, they have to submit a financial aid application. But far too few students apply for financial aid in Washington. Last year, only about half of all high school seniors filed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). As a result, Washington placed 48th in the nation for FAFSA completion and missed out on over $50 million in federal student financial aid. 

In Washington, there are two ways to apply for financial aid. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens apply with the FAFSA. People who can't file the FAFSA due to immigration status can still apply for state aid with the WASFA, the Washington Application for State Financial Aid. Students who submit a FAFSA or a WASFA are far more likely to attend college. 

This year, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is expanding the 12th Year Campaign. High schools that take part have FAFSA completion rates 11 percentage points higher than schools that don't. At 12th Year Campaign events, experts and trained volunteers help students and their families with financial aid and college applications. WSAC also partners with colleges, libraries, and community groups to organize financial aid events. Events are scheduled throughout the year during the school day, in the evenings, or on weekends. Find dates and locations on the 12th Year Campaign map, updated weekly.

Students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible. Some types of aid are first-come, first-served, and colleges have different deadlines. Students need to know the deadlines for the colleges they want to attend. Visit ReadySetGrad.wa.gov for more information on admissions, financial aid, and college readiness. 

The 12th Year Campaign is a Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) initiative to increase educational attainment. This work is made possible through state funding and support from the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) as well as site volunteer support from the Washington Financial Aid Association (WFAA). 

About the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)

The Washington Student Achievement Council is committed to increasing educational opportunities and attainment in Washington.