Financial Aid 101

Washington’s independent colleges and universities are affordable to students of all family incomes. Through a combination of aid programs – scholarships, grants, loans, and work study – most students find that attending a private institution can be as affordable as attending a state institution.

The most important aspect of choosing a college however, is finding the right “fit”. Independent colleges and universities offer diverse settings and programs.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can’t afford the education you want; financial aid is available and financial aid officers are committed to help.

Types of Financial Aid available

Scholarships and Grants consist of institutional, state, federal, or outside sources of funding that do not need to be repaid. 90% of students attending an independent college in Washington receive institutional grants or other aid. Read more about scholarships and state/federal aid below.

Work Study programs let you earn money and gain work experience while you are in college. These are generally for part-time employment, allowing time to attend classes and to study. Some programs offer the added advantage of employment related to your field of study or career interests. Read more about Work Study below.

Loans must be paid back in full, with interest. The terms of repayment vary. Generally, repayment does not begin until after you leave school. Some loan programs do not require that you have financial need in order to qualify. Student loans based on financial need carry interest rates that are lower than most other kinds of loans, because the government helps pay the interest. Read more about loans below.

There are many sources of financial aid available from the federal and state governments, colleges and universities, and private organizations.

Financial aid significantly lowers the amount of tuition you will have to pay. To apply for federal student financial aid, and to apply for many state student aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).