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Washington Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

The State of Washington was named after George Washington and is the only state that is named after a president. More than half of the population of Washington is located in the Seattle area. Even with more than half of the state’s population concentrated near the coast, the state offers a large number of post-secondary institutions all over Washington. There’s the University of Washington in Bothell, Washington State University in Vancouver, and Spokane Community College in Spokane. Whether you’re attending one of these schools or any other school in Washington, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance.

Four Main Types of Washington Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • Federal financial aid – grants and low-interest loans
  • Washington state financial aid – grants, scholarships, and loans
  • Washington university- and state-supported scholarships
  • Outside scholarships – Washington foundations, professional organizations, and businesses

Federal Financial Aid – Grants and Low-Interest Loans

Washington students with financial need may qualify for federal financial aid. All students hoping to receive federal financial aid must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA applications are available January 1, the year before the year you are requesting aid for. The national deadline for FAFSA applications is usually June 30. Because federal programs are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, they do run out so apply as early as possible after January 1. Also check with your school to see if it has a FAFSA deadline.

If you qualify for federal aid, your school’s financial aid office will decide how much you need and offer you grants and/or loans. You may choose to accept as much as you like.

Washington State Financial Aid – Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Washington offers several state-supported financial aid programs to help students pay for educational expenses. Only Washington residents qualify for these programs. Here is a list of available programs:

State Need Grant
This Washington financial aid program offers assistance to students who have the most need. Students attending any accredited post-secondary educational institution in Washington are eligible. File a FAFSA to apply.

College Bound Scholarship
This Washington financial aid program was created to award low-income seventh or eighth grade students who graduated from high school and are pursuing post-secondary degrees. Students must apply for the program as a seventh or eighth grader. Click here to apply online.

Washington Scholars
Principals nominate three students from the top 1% of their senior classes to become Washington Scholars. Students should demonstrate academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement. Awards may be used at any post-secondary institution in Washington.

American Indian Endowed Scholarship
Students with American Indian heritage may be eligible to receive this Washington financial aid program. Applicants need to be enrolled full-time in a post-secondary institution. Both undergraduates and graduates can apply. Submit a FAFSA and click here for an application.

Future Teachers Conditional Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program
This Washington financial aid program was designed to assist students or paraprofessionals who want to pursue a teaching certificate. Preference will be given to those who wish to teach in subjects with a shortage in teachers. To be eligible for scholarship or loan repayment, applicants must agree to teach in a Washington K-12 public school. Two years are required for every one year of funding received. Click here to see application procedures.

GET Ready for Math and Science Conditional Scholarship
This program was designed to provide scholarships for low-income students who excel in math and science in high school. To be eligible, students must have scored in the top 5% of the SAT or ACT or at least a 4 on the math or science section of the WASL. Students should plan to pursue post-secondary degrees in math or science at post-secondary institutions in Washington. This program requires that after getting their degrees, participants in the program agree to work in Washington for a minimum of three years. Please check the website in fall 2009 for application procedures.

Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs
Students who are pursuing careers in health professions may be eligible to apply for scholarships or loans. Both programs were created to encourage more students to pursue careers as health professionals, especially in areas of Washington where there are shortages of health professionals. Students must agree to provide service in a shortage area in Washington for each year they receive funding. For the online scholarship application, click here. For the loan application, check the website in January.

Passport for Foster Youth Promise Program
This program was designed to support foster children who wish to pursue a post-secondary degree. Applicants must have been in foster care after they were 16 years of age. Click here for more information.

WAVE – Washington Award for Vocational Excellence
High school students and students in skills centers and community and technical colleges may be nominated to receive this award. For more information, click here. Talk to your counselor or your school’s vocational or WAVE coordinator for applications.

Washington University- and College-Supported Scholarships

Universities and colleges in Washington provide scholarships to support students attending their campuses. These scholarships are usually given to students based on merit, financial need, talent, major, and a combination of these criteria. The application process is different for almost every university and college. Many colleges and universities award merit-based scholarships to freshmen students through the admissions process. All students have to do is submit their application for admission and they will immediately be considered for a scholarship. Most scholarships awarded based on financial need, talent, or major require students to submit separate applications. Some schools may require separate applications for each of these criteria while other schools will require just one general application. Check with your school’s financial aid or scholarship office to see what it requires.

Outside Scholarships – Washington Foundations, Professional Organizations, and Businesses

Students can also find scholarships from Washington foundations, professional organizations, and businesses. Here’s a list of some available scholarships in Washington:

Central Washington Home Builders Association
Award: Two $500 scholarships
Qualifications: Must be a member or employee of CWHBA or be related to someone who is a member or employee of CWHBA.
Deadline: Usually in May.
Application: Click here to download a current application.

WALPA Lake Scholarship
Award: One $1,000 scholarship and one $750 scholarship.
Qualifications: Students must be studying environmental science.
Deadline: Usually in April.
Application: Click here to download a current application.

Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers
Award: Scholarships in the amount of $500 to $2,000.
Qualifications: High school seniors who are planning to attend post-secondary institutions and pursue studies in the wine industry. Residents of the State of Washington will have preference.
Deadline: November 30
Application: Click here to download an application.

Washington Chapter of the Wildlife Society
Award: Richard E. Fitzner Memorial Scholarship Fund in the amount of $1,000.
Qualifications: Student must be studying a biology-related field at an accredited post-secondary institution.
Deadline: May 31st every year.
Application: Click here to download an application.

Washington State Potato Foundation
Award: Scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000.
Qualifications: Washington resident students who are studying or planning to study in an agriculture-related program at an accredited post-secondary institution anywhere.
Deadline: February 15 every year.
Application: Click here to download an application.

Washington State Scholarship Foundation
Award: Scholarships in the amounts of $2,500 for students entering 2-year colleges and $5,000 for students entering 4-year colleges.
Qualifications: Students must have financial need, graduated from a Washington high school, and be a first-time freshman.
Deadline: Usually in March.
Application: Download a current application here and mail application only after February 1.

Three Things to Keep in Mind About Washington Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • Many states have their own FAFSA deadlines, but since Washington doesn’t, you should check with your financial aid office to see when its priority deadline is. Remember to file your FAFSA by priority deadlines in order to receive all possible financial assistance from the government.
  • Because scholarship application procedures are different at almost every university and college, be sure to check with your financial aid or scholarship office early to see what you need to do.
  • There are many businesses, professional organizations, and foundations offering scholarships in the State of Washington. Remember to look locally first before pursuing national scholarships. You may have a better chance of winning Washington scholarships.

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