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How to Get Money for College

To get money for college, you need to apply for financial aid using either the FAFSA or the WASFA, not both. Apply even if you don't think you qualify! There are a lot of funding programs with different criteria, so you may qualify for money you didn't know existed.

You can submit your FAFSA or WASFA application for the next school year any time after Oct. 1. Complete your application right away because many aid programs are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority deadlines vary from college to college, so check the college's financial aid deadline.

Don't forget to turn in your FAFSA or WASFA to get ready for every year you're thinking about going to college.

Remember to apply to the college, too. Each college financial aid office determines what kinds, and levels, of financial aid to offer you. Colleges may offer you different options and amounts.


If you plan to attend college this school year or the next, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) right away. It will open doors to ways to pay for college, even if you think you don't qualify for financial aid.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can seem  complicated, but 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA can help walk you through it.

Who should use the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is for students who are US citizens or eligible non-citizens

Check with your college's financial aid office for more information.


If you plan to attend college this school year or the next and you don't qualify for federal financial aid, fill out the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) right away, even if you think you won't qualify. The WASFA will tell you if you're eligible for a variety state financial aid programs, including the Washington College Grant.

WASFA is private and confidential

The WASFA is confidential, and any information you provide will be kept private. The Washington Student Achievement Council, which oversees financial aid in Washington state, and the colleges you choose on the application will only use WASFA to determine resident tuition and financial aid. They are not allowed to share that information for other reasons or with other people or organizations.

Who should use the WASFA?

The WASFA is for students who cannot file, or do not wish to file a FAFSA. If you identify with the following, you'll want to apply for financial aid with the WASFA:

  • Immigration status/undocumented
  • Defaulted federal loans
  • Repayments owed on federal grants
  • Unable to provide selective service confirmation
  • US citizen applicants with undocumented parents/family members who do not wish to file a FAFSA

Selective Service

Virtually all male U.S. citizens (regardless of where they live) and male immigrants (whether documented or undocumented) residing in the United States, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service. 

Males must register with Selective Service to be eligible for federal student loan and grant programs, including federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Direct Stafford Loans/Plus Loans, national direct student Loans, and college work study.

Registering with Selective Service does not mean you are joining the military.


If you have questions about financial aid, call the financial aid office at the college of your choice.

You can also contact Student Financial Assistance at the Washington Student Achievement Council at or 888-535-0747.

Financial Aid Tips

After you accept financial aid, ask your college's financial aid office:

  • How and when you'll receive the money.
  • How much aid will be directly applied to your bill.
  • How much your first bill will be.
  • What you can expect in future years. (Your financial aid amounts might differ from year to year.)

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Last Modified: 7/21/22, 2:19 PM

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