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Financial Aid, Grants, and Scholarships

How Financial Aid Works

For most students planning to attend college or career school, financial aid is essential. This site will walk you through how financial aid works, resources to pay for college, and loan repayment options. 

The financial aid office at the colleges where you're applying is a great resource for figuring out how to pay for college. Be sure to check them out. They help with the FAFSA/WASFA applications too!


The 2024–25 FAFSA® Is Live!

What is the FAFSA® form?

  • Colleges and career schools use the FAFSA form to determine how much financial aid you're eligible to receive, which could include grants, scholarships, work-study funds, and loans.

  • You must apply for aid every year, but with the right information in hand, it's easy.

  • Students and families can visit for resources about completing the 2024–25 FAFSA form—including information about creating a account without a Social Security number, how to complete the new 2024–25 FAFSA form, and what to do before and after completing the FAFSA form. 

Creating a Account

We strongly recommend you create your account before starting your FAFSA form. When you create your account, be careful to enter your name and Social Security number (SSN) exactly as they appear on your Social Security card.

Access the FAFSA Form

Applying for Financial Aid With the FAFSA® Form Video

How do I apply for financial aid?

  • Washington College Grant (WA Grant) gives more money to more people for more types of education and training beyond high school. Complete a financial aid application to find out how much money may be available to you. 

  • In Washington, there are two different applications for financial aid, but you only need to complete one:

  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) if you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

  • Complete the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid) if you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA due to immigration status, defaulted federal loans, or other issues with federal aid. Learn more and apply on the WASFA page.

When should I apply?​

  • The FAFSA/WASFA open October 1st each year. You do not need to know whether or where you plan to go to school or what programs you might be interested in to apply for financial aid. 

  • Some colleges may have additional financial aid forms for you to complete. Check their website or contact their financial aid office to find out. Once you are admitted, talk to each college's financial aid office to ensure your application information is received accurately and on time.

Who can help me apply for financial aid?

Not sure how to get started with your financial aid application? Talk to someone you can trust:

  • The 12th Year Campaign hosts virtual financial aid info and filing events to help students and families apply for college and financial aid.

  • Talk to the financial aid office at any colleges you're interested in attending. Financial aid staff can help you navigate the process based on your circumstances.

Think you don't qualify for financial aid? Think again.

Washington College Grant gives more money to more people​.
  • WA Grant is one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country. Recent high school graduates and working-age adults from many low- and middle-income families can qualify to receive free money toward career training, college, and apprenticeships. Learn more about WA Grant.

Estimate your award with the financial aid calculator.
  • Students and families can use the financial aid calculator to estimate potential financial aid. There are many sources of money and kinds of aid available to continue your education—the only way to know for sure if you qualify is to complete a financial aid application.

Are you a Washington resident student? 
  • Washington resident students are eligible to pay in-state tuition and get state financial aid. Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens, including undocumented students, can be Washington residents. In most cases, a Washington resident is a person who lives in the state for one year immediately before starting a college or program and has a high school diploma (or equivalent). Learn more about what it takes to be considered a Washington resident on WSAC's Student Residency web page.

Have your circumstances changed?

  • If someone in your family has lost a job or is working less, colleges may be able to provide more financial aid. Learn more about how to request changes to financial aid if your circumstances have changed.

FAFSA or the WASFA WSAC questionnaire

Many states and colleges also rely on the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid and how much they'll get. The Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) is for students in Washington state who are undocumented or do not qualify for federal financial aid because of their immigration status.

You DO NOT fill out both.



  • Review the CHS 2022-23 Financial Aid presentation here.

Student Financial Assistance at the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC):



Call: 888.535.0747 (option 3)


12th Year Campaign Key to Success Financial Aid Resources

Welcome to the 12th Year Campaign student padlet. These resources will help you with completing financial aid        and admissions applications.

Some schools – mostly private colleges – use a supplemental form called the College Scholarship Service Profile,        or CSS Profile, to determine how to give out their own funds. This form is more detailed than the FAFSA and can be more time-consuming to complete.

Calculate Your Cost Thanks to financial aid, most students pay less than a college's sticker price. Find out how to get an estimate of your net price — the real price you'll pay — for any college.


Types of Financial Aid



Most types of grants, unlike loans, are sources of financial aid that generally do not have to be repaid. Grants can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization.

  • WA Grant Free money for career training, college, or an apprenticeship—it’s possible!

Washington College Grant (WA Grant) gives eligible people more money for more types of education like certificate programs, job training, apprenticeships, or college.

To apply, complete a state or federal financial aid application. Estimate your award here.



Scholarships are financial aid awards designed to help students pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. Sometimes a scholarship comes in a one-time check. Other scholarships are renewable and provide student with money each semester or school year. These financial awards differ from student loans because they don't have to be repaid. 

Scholarships come from various sources, including clubs, organizations, charities, foundations, businesses, colleges and universities, the government, and individuals. These scholarships can be merit-based, need-based, or a combination of both, giving you opportunities to continue your education without taking on a significant financial burden.


Our Snoqualmie Valley Dollars for Scholars chapter serves the communities of Carnation and Duvall in the state of Washington. In 2022 our chapter gave out 51 scholarships for a total of $53,692.59.  The Snoqualmie Valley Dollars for Scholars chapter, started in 1990, has given out $902,937in awards to 1,261 graduating seniors to further higher education. This organization would not be possible without the support of our community and the public and private donors that are dedicated to the success of our students. Applications open February of Senior year and are awarded at Senior Awards Night.​

Washington has one of the fastest growing state economies with more trade, health care and STEM jobs than we can fill. The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship connects our state’s leading industries with top Washington talent by reducing barriers to education and training and facilitating entry into high-demand careers for Washington students.


Scholarship search engines

Cappex claims to be the biggest online scholarship database, so it could pay to check the site for possible leads. Like other sites, you have to create an account to see all the scholarships you might qualify for. Their filter system lets you sort awards by year in school, scholarship amount, gender, ethnicity and award deadline. You can also search for renewable scholarships, which offer college funding for multiple years.

The U.S. Department of Labor has its own scholarship website through the CareerOneStop portal.

Fastweb aggregates awards from both large and small directories. You have to make a profile to search for scholarships, which is similar to other sites. But after the initial sign-up process, you can easily search for scholarships and filter your results based on several data points. Fastweb will also notify you when a new scholarship matching your description is posted and when you have upcoming deadlines.

College Board will also automatically match you with eligible scholarships based on the information in your profile. There is also an autofill function, which allows you to reuse information from other scholarship applications, saving you time and helping you apply for more awards.

Divides scholarships by a variety of unique categories, including GPA, military affiliation, ethnicity, artistic ability, ACT or SAT score and residing state. And when you select one of these categories, you’ll likely see a large list of subcategories, where you can then view all eligible scholarships. This system helps students find niche awards with smaller applicant pools that they’re more likely to win.


The College Bound Scholarship is an early commitment of state financial aid to eligible students who enroll in middle school and meet the pledge requirements. The College Bound Scholarship covers average tuition at public college rates, some fees, and a small book allowance at over 65 colleges, universities, and technical schools in Washington. This page contains information for students, families, counselors, and anyone interested in the College Bound Scholarship.

  • OtterBot for Students and Parents/Guardians is:

  • A free texting service to support all Washington high school students and their parents/guardians. It is designed for seniors and juniors who are enrolled with the College Bound Scholarship.

  • A great source of info about financial aid, college planning, and reminders.

  • Available 24/7. Get started TODAY!

How do I get started? 

Students: Text "Hi OtterBot" to 360-928-7281

Parents: Text "Hi OtterBot" to 360-634-0354


  • WUE (Western Undergraduate Exchange)

WUE: Western Undergraduate Exchange 

Search among hundreds of undergraduate degrees offered at the WUE rate of 150% of resident tuition (or less) by 160+ public colleges and universities across the West. Find the school and program that fits your geographic and educational goals.

Work-Study jobs help students earn money to pay for college or career school.

The financial aid office at college is a great resource for students figuring out how to pay. In addition to managing financial aid offers, the office provides information on scholarships and helps students deal with any problems related to their financial aid paperwork or distribution. Financial aid advisors can also recommend strategies to help make college more affordable.



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