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FAFSA (Financial Aid)

Everyone is encouraged to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Even if you do not think you will need financial aid, this will open access to programs that may be helpful as you apply to training and education for your career preparation. 


CLICK HERE for information about FAFSA and other financial aid opportunities.

CLICK HERE to complete your FAFSA.

Student Calling on the Phone

What Are Typical Costs for College?

College Expenses

There are several costs to attending college to keep in mind—and several ways to consider reducing them.

It can be challenging to tackle college expenses, but there are definite rewards for taking on this challenge. The majority of living-wage jobs in Washington require college credentials. You can increase your wages for years to come. Education is an investment in you!

If you want to go to college, you are living in the right state! Cost doesn’t have to be a barrier to attending college. There is money available to help. Washington has many financial aid programs, including the Washington College Grant and the College Bound Scholarship, to help make it possible.

Typical Costs

One of the largest college costs is tuition—the price you pay for classes. But other costs can add up including:

  • Fees (technology, student activities, recreation center, etc.)

  • Books and supplies

  • Housing and meals (room and board)

  • Transportation

  • Personal expenses

Most students receive some financial aid to help pay for the cost of their education. That is covered in another article—but remember these costs will be reduced with help from government, campus and private organizations.

Ways to Lower Costs

Besides getting financial aid, there are ways to lower the cost of some of these expenses.

  • Borrow, rent, or buy e-books or used books

  • Transfer the credits that you earned in high school (Running Start, College in the High School, AP or IB test scores, etc)

  • Follow an educational plan to graduate on-time and avoid extra classes


Find Resources to Pay for Your Training & Education

Paying for College

The WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges prepared a site to help you understand how to pay for college. This site provides resources to learn about options and how to afford the training you need to get ahead. 

Federal Student Aid

Resources prepared by the Office of the US Department of Education to provide information to get ready for college. It gives information about financial aid and other tips to pay for college. 

WA State Guide to Financial Aid

It provides additional resources to find and apply for financial aid to help you cover the costs of higher education to prepare you for the career of your choice. 

Complete the FAFSA

The first step to obtaining assistance through financial aid is to complete your FAFSA form. This site will get you to the form to complete. Fill this out to be eligible for resources, information, and access to financial aid support. 

Application for the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid)

This is another source of financial aid for those who don't file a federal FAFSA application. If you have already completed the FAFSA (federal financial aid application), you do not need to complete this form unless your college asks you to.  (This is typically for individuals who may be undocumented or do not otherwise qualify for federal financial aid.)

College Success Foundation: Resources for Students from Underserved Populations 

Get the support you need to be successful in your higher education experience. 

Student in Library


Types of Financial Aid

Students in Washington receive over $1 billion in financial aid. It can seem overwhelming to learn about all the types of financial aid, but the most important thing to do is apply.


Grants are money awarded to pay for college. They do not have to be paid back if the student completes the coursework and they are usually based on family income. Common grants include:

  • Federal Pell Grant: Eligible students may receive up to $6,195 for 2019.

  • Washington College Grant or College Bound Scholarship: Eligible students may receive funds to cover up to the cost of tuition and some fees. Maximum amounts depend on the college—from $4,000 at a community college to $11,000 at the UW or WSU in Fall 2019.

  • Campus Funding: Eligibility, funding, and application processes vary. Students may receive tuition waivers, grants, and scholarships.

  • Washington State Opportunity Grant: Students pursuing high-demand programs in community and technical colleges can receive tuition funding and other support for one year.


Campuses, community organizations, and others can offer scholarships. Scholarships usually require a separate application. There are many scholarships that are offered based on academic background, programs of study, personal background, and more.

Other Programs

The programs below are just a few examples of other programs. Let your supporters know you are interested in pursuing education and training.

  • Military-Connected Benefits: If you have a parent who was or is in the military, you may qualify as a family member for help with tuition and educational costs

  • Passport to Careers: Provides money and support for students from foster care and unaccompanied homeless youth to attend and succeed in college, apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship programs.

  • Other Financial Aid links are provided by WA Student Achievement Council. 

  • Paying for College resources from WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. 


  • Don’t assume you are not eligible for scholarships.

  • Complete a FAFSA or WASFA financial aid application as soon as possible. Students who are not U.S. Citizens, including undocumented students, may complete the WASFA.

Ask the Campus 

  • What are scholarship opportunities available to me?

  • Are there other financial supports that fit my circumstances?


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