What Types of Aid Are Available?
There are several types of financial aid: grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships.
- Grants (such as the State Need Grant) are referred to as gift or need-based aid. As long as students successfully complete the courses for which they enroll, there is no repayment of the funds.
- Loans are repayable. Students receive funds under several conditions, including paying back the funds (with interest) in the future.
- Scholarships are gift funds that are generally awarded to students based on specific criteria, such as merit, talent, financial need, or program of study.
- Work-study programs are employment opportunities for students. Jobs are located on-campus or off-campus and usually relate to students' program of study.
- Worker Retraining can help pay for tuition, books, fees, and other related
expenses for individuals who lost their jobs due to economic changes and for those receiving
Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Find a Worker Retraining program at one of
Washington state's community or technical colleges.
State Financial Aid: Washington Opportunity Pathways
The state’s student financial aid program are known as Opportunity Pathways. Learn more about need- and merit-based aid and loan repayment programs — such as State Need Grant, State Work Study, College Bound Scholarship — and how to apply at the Washington Student Achievement Council financial aid web page.
Information and Financial Aid for Undocumented Students
The REAL Hope Act (previously known as Washington DREAM Act) approved by the state legislature in 2014, allows undocumented students to apply for state-funded financial aid for college. To qualify, students must meet income and other guidelines.
Learn if you qualify, apply online for the State Need Grant, and find other resources to help undocumented students at RealHopeWA.org.
Colleges, universities, and private organizations may offer additional programs such as tuition waivers and privately funded scholarships. Visit theWashBoard.org for information about scholarship opportunities.
Individual grants are available to veterans to help with education expenses through the Veterans Innovation Programs.
Tax Credit May Help Offset College Expenses
Students and families who had tuition and other college-related expenses in 2009 may be eligible to claim the American Opportunity tax credit on their federal income tax returns this year.
The full tax credit, which can be claimed for eligible college expenses incurred during the 2009 and 2010 tax years, is available to taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for joint filers). A reduced credit amount is available to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes up to $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers). If a taxpayer’s income level is not high enough during the year to incur federal income tax liability, up to 40 percent of the tax credit can be received as a refund.
The new credit allows up to a $2,500 tax credit for eligible tuition and college expenses. In addition, tax filers may now claim expenses incurred during the first four years of their postsecondary education rather than only the first two.
Depending on individual circumstances, the American Opportunity tax credit may not be the most advantageous tax option for all families with higher education expenses. For guidance, consult a tax advisor or visit these Internal Revenue Service sites for additional information:
Financial Aid Contact Information
Use the CTC Employe Directory to retrieve financial aid contact information for community and technical colleges. Select the college name, and look for "financial aid" under "Category."
For More Information...
FinAid! has helpful information for students and parents needing more information on financial aid. Or contact the financial aid office at your local two-year college for more information about the programs available.
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