Washington's community and technical colleges continue to serve students, communities and employers across Washington state. We're just doing things differently.
Our colleges have moved services and instruction online to create social distancing and help slow the spread of COVID-19. This is both a directive of Governor Inslee and the right thing to do to keep students and our communities healthy.
We remain dedicated to serving and instructing students of all ages and backgrounds across Washington. When this crisis is over, you can count on us to help our entire state recover.
Yes, all 34 colleges have moved classes online to allow students to continue their studies without risking their health or the health of others. Employees are working from home unless they need to access the campus briefly to provide a core service.
- Learn how your local college is serving students.
- Visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) website to keep up with the latest COVID-19 news in Washington.
Yes, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is still operating and serving the system. Like colleges, we have moved everything online until restrictions are lifted.
Whether you’ve never taken an online class, have limited experience or are already an all-online student — here are a few tips to help you prepare for remote learning.
- Create a dedicated space that can serve as your remote classroom. Try to keep this area as quiet, organized and distraction-free as possible
- You’ll need reliable, secure internet access when you begin courses online. If you don't have access to a computer or internet service, notify your instructor right away.
- Most students will take online courses through the Canvas Learning Management System. If you are new to Canvas, check to see if your college offers online Canvas training. Canvas also offers free training online.
- Log into your course ahead of time to review the learning objectives and any assignments. Assess the workload for the week and put the due dates on your calendar. Having a mental picture of what's ahead is the best thing you can do to prepare each week.
- Check whether your class is designed to allow you to study at any time, or whether you need to log in at a specific time to hear lectures and participate in real time.
- Schedule time to study and complete your assignments. Online classes provide flexibility, but it's easy to fall behind without a schedule. You’ll still be devoting the same amount of time and effort to your classwork online, you just won’t be traveling to campus.
- Login to your class several times a week or even daily. This is especially important during the first week of class.
- Check your college email address every day and respond to messages.
- Use the Canvas To-Do List and Calendar to track and stay current on your assignments. They are very helpful. Try also setting a goal to turn assignments in early so you can stay ahead.
- Ask questions and communicate with your instructors — they are there to help you succeed.
- Participate in both mandatory and optional discussions.
- Take breaks as needed. Staring at a monitor or device for too long can cause eye-strain and exhaustion. Allow yourself to take a break from your studies — approximately 10 minutes every hour will help you stay focused and healthy.
- Be patient. You’re not alone in navigating this new challenge. Your instructors and college staff are also learning how best to help you in a new environment. Please be patient and understanding. We all want to succeed and do our best, together.
Colleges are allowing students enrolled in professional-technical programs —like nursing, welding, automotive, construction trades, and medical assisting — to come to campus for the hands-on portion of their classes, provided everyone follows strict safety protocols. The rest of the class is taught online.
Fortunately, college campuses will reopen in fall 2020 with strong safety measures in place.
College campuses will reopen in fall 2020 with strong safety measures in place. Your experience will be very different from last fall. You'll still get excellent instruction, but your college will need to take action to keep you safe. You can expect to be separated by six feet, to wear a mask and, in many cases, to have a mix of instruction online and in-person.
If you don't have access to a computer or internet service, please contact your instructor right away. Some colleges are loaning out laptops, tablets, Chromebooks and WiFi hotpots or providing students emergency financial help for technology purchases. Options vary from college to college, so please ask your instructor about solutions available at your college.
You can find a list of free hotspots on the Washington State Department of Commerce Drive-In WiFi Hotspots Location Finder.
Several colleges have expanded the reach of their WiFi to campus parking lots. Please check with your college about this possibility.
If you are a student, please:
- Visit the Federal Student Aid website for answers to common questions about financial aid during the COVID-19 crisis. Check the page often for updates.
- Talk to the financial aid office at your college.
- Complete a financial aid application (FAFSA or WASFA) for fall quarter 2020. The new Washington College Grant will cover the cost of tuition for many more families now.
The following information is based on general guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and the Washington Student Achievement Council.
Federal loans: The U.S. Department of Education automatically paused student loan payments through Dec. 31, 2020. Interest will be 0% during that period. If you want to continue making payments, contact your loan servicer.
Private loans: If you have a private loan, contact your lender to find out if it offers flexibility on loan payments or interest.
Washington College Grant: If you receive a Washington College Grant (formerly known as the State Need Grant), there may be no penalty if you are unable to complete all attempted coursework in a single quarter. Check with your college's financial aid office to find out the specific requirements you need to meet.
Work Study: Colleges can continue to pay work study students even if the students can't perform their usual work due to COVID-19 disruptions. Both the U.S. Department of Education and the Washington Student Achievement Council are allowing colleges to convert work-study awards to need-based financial aid.
A new law allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue providing your current level of education benefits even if your classes have switched from in-person to online. Learn more at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
While some colleges are able to maintain the operations of their food pantries, many colleges have been forced to limit their hours of service or close completely. Please ask your college about available services. Visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) website to discover other sources of food assistance.
Enrollment, admissions and advising
All of our colleges are now offering online advising. You can meet with an advisor online wherever you happen to be right now —whether you are in Washington, out-of-state, or in another country (just remember to check the time zones).
Please reach out to your instructor and financial aid office first. They are working to help you complete your classes successfully and maintain your financial aid.
Yes, there should be no disruption to transcript requests or deliveries during this health crisis. Colleges are ensuring that they have staff, either working on campus or from their homes, that will continue to provide essential services. Transcripts will continue to be sent upon request.
The application process is fully automated at all of Washington's community and technical colleges. You can start by visiting the Web Admissions Center. After you apply, the college will contact you with resources to get you to the next step. Colleges are prepared to offer all student services virtually or by appointment.
Make sure you apply for financial aid too. The new Washington College Grant offers more money, to more students, for more kinds of programs. You'll never know what's available to you until you apply.
For Faculty and Staff
Governor Inslee's Higher Education Reopening Plan took effect Aug. 1, 2020 and consists of two documents:
- Proclamation 20-12.1 — This proclamation spells out mandates colleges must follow in order to teach in-person classes in the fall.
- Campus Reopening Guide — This publication offers a list of safety recommendations for various functions: campus safety, campus support, food services, transportation, and residences.
Yes, our Education Division has developed a Remote Learning Resources web page to help faculty and staff serve students online. Webinars and videos are also available on the site. Thank you for everything you are doing to help students succeed during this challenging and unprecedented time. You are an inspiration.
Please contact your college's Human Resources office for employee-related information.
Higher Education Reopening Plan for Fall 2020
Learn more about Governor Inslee's plan to reopen college campuses in fall 2020.
Washington State Coronavirus Web Page
Visit Washington state's official COVID-19 website for information and resources.
College COVID-19 Web Pages
Visit your college website to find college-specific information for students, faculty and staff during this COVID-19 emergency.
Remote Resources for Faculty and Staff
We're here to help faculty and staff serve students remotely. Check out our Remote Learning Resources web page.
Apply For Financial Aid
Thanks to the new Washington College Grant, more students will qualify for financial aid beginning fall quarter 2020.
Apply for financial aid now. You never know until you try!
Last Modified: 9/1/20 2:45 PM