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Washington Is #1 in NASSGAP Annual Survey

Washington state ranks first in the nation for need-based financial aid

January 29, 2024

Olympia—Washington state is first in the nation for need-based financial aid for college or career training, according to annual survey data released by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP). The generous Washington College Grant (WA Grant) program is the reason. WA Grant is available to families making up to 100% of the state’s median family income—meaning about half of all Washington households could get some money to help pay for education beyond high school.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee isn’t surprised by his state’s strong showing. “The power and promise of higher education is more accessible than ever thanks to the work of my administration, the Legislature and other Washingtonians in supporting students,” says Inslee. “It’s no secret around these parts that we have the best college financial aid in the country, and we’re proud more people are taking notice.”

Unlike its predecessor program, the State Need Grant (SNG), WA Grant is guaranteed to eligible Washingtonians. For many years, SNG funding was insufficient to serve all eligible people, leaving tens of thousands of otherwise-eligible students annually without support. Since the WA Grant program was established, the number of people getting grants each year has ranged from 14,000 to 22,000 above the service level of SNG in its final year.

NASSGAP’s annual rankings consider the total amount of need-based financial aid that is provided by the state, adjusted to account for the total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollments. Currently, Washington is the only state—and first ever—to provide more than $2,000 per undergraduate FTE.

More information about WA Grant is available on the Washington Student Achievement Council website.