Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Paying for College: Options and Strategies

Take Advantage of Financial Aid

Financial aid and free money may available to help you pay for college. Common types of financial aid include:

  • Grants
    Grants are a form of financial aid, based on need, which you do not have to repay.
  • Scholarships
    Scholarships are a form of merit-based financial aid. Scholarships like grants do not have to be repaid.
  • Work Study
    Work study programs allow you to work earn money while enrolled in school.

Find Out If Your Employer Offers Tuition Reimbursement

Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs, flextime, and college savings plans, among other resources. If applicable, check with your current employer to see if you may receive any such education benefits or support in scheduling work.

Applying for Financial Aid

Federal and many State financial aid programs rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility. This form is the starting and ending point for many of the programs you may qualify for.

The FAFSA is available online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/.

Borrowing with Student Loans

Another option to help you pay for college is student loans. Student loans can be helpful when used wisely. There is a lot you should consider before applying for student loans. View our Guide to Student Loans for more information.

Helpful Websites

  • FAFSA
    Free application for federal student aid.
  • Debt Slapped
    Guide to smartly financing your education
  • Washington State Need Grant Program
    Provides need-based financial aid to income-eligible students pursuing postsecondary education.
  • Washington Work Study Program
    The Washington Student Achievement Council has more information about the Washington State Work Study program.
  • TheWashBoard.org
    A free, student-centered, online clearinghouse for Washington students seeking college scholarships. This user-friendly site allows students to search and apply for verified scholarship opportunities that are specific to their academic interests, college, university, or other criteria. The HECB is the customer service provider for theWashBoard.org
  • Financial Aid and Scholarship Wizard - US Department of Education
    Financial aid and scholarship wizard lets you plan, in eight steps, your entire financial aid packages online for all of the schools that you are considering. Results will include deadlines for filing financial aid applications for the colleges you select, as well as information about scholarship searches, estimated family contribution and federal aid. The Wizard also includes a tool to help you interpret and analyze your financial aid award letters.
  • SallieMae - Scholarship Search
    Features over 600,000 scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, internships and fellowships.
  • College Board Scholarship Search
    Locate scholarship and other information that matches your educational level, talents, and background.
  • Washington Student Achievement Council
    Information about Washington-specific assistance and financing options.