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Media Release: Apply for 2021-22 financial aid

Apply for financial aid to get education or training, expand options during uncertain times

October 1, 2020

Olympia—Oct. 1, 2020, marks the first day students can apply for financial aid for the 2021-22 school year. Given the ongoing economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, education after high school is more important than ever. Filing a financial aid application gives people more options for the future.  

Applying for financial aid is a crucial first step toward college and career training. Before students can receive any state or federal financial aid, they must submit a financial aid application. In Washington, there are two ways to apply for financial aid. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens apply with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). People who can't file the FAFSA—due to immigration status, defaulted federal loans, or other issues with federal aid—can apply for state aid with the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid).

Students who submit a FAFSA or a WASFA are far more likely to attend college. But far too few students apply for financial aid in Washington. In recent years, only about half of all high school seniors have filed a FAFSA. Many families assume they won’t qualify for aid, but the only way to know for sure is to apply. And with the new Washington College Grant (WCG) program, more families qualify than ever before. 

WCG gives 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, WCG helps low- and middle-income people of all ages take their next step. The grant supports students pursuing certificates and degrees, as well as approved registered apprenticeship programs.  

The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) aims to increase FAFSA and WASFA completion rates in Washington. In response to current circumstances, WSAC is providing more online support and resources. The 12th Year Campaign—which typically holds in-person events around the state each year—has scheduled a series of virtual financial aid information and filing events to help families complete applications. More events will be scheduled in the coming months. 

High school seniors may also consider signing up for Otterbot. This automated text messaging service provides timely financial aid advice and reminders, and will also respond to specific questions submitted via text. To sign up, students can text “Hi Otter” to 360-928-7281. 

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 WSAC’s Plan Your Future page for more information on financial aid and college and career planning.  

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 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.