Washington College Grant


The Washington College Grant was created in May 2019 when the landmark Workforce Education Investment Act was signed into law. It replaces the State Need Grant and makes funding a guarantee for eligible students with family incomes at or below 110 percent of the federal poverty level.

The State Need Grant had long been one of the nation’s most generous financial aid programs, but it also ran out of money every year. The Washington College Grant will help an additional one third of previously unserved students (approximately 6,000) in 2019.

Starting in 2020, all eligible students will receive the Washington College grant and get the chance to pursue their dreams of a higher education, including some who were not eligible under the State Need Grant. The program will serve about 110,000 students with awards up to $11,207.

The Washington College Grant provides funding for low-and-middle income students to attend 66 higher education and career training institutes throughout the state. Students whose families make $50,000 or less can go to a two- or four-year public college in Washington tuition-free. Students whose families make up to the state’s median income — nearly  $92,000 for a family of four — as well as students attending one of the state’s accredited private colleges or universities will also get some aid.

About the Workforce Education Investment Act

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Workforce Education Investment Act into law earlier this year.

In addition to replacing the State Need Grant with the more generous Washington College Grant, the Workforce Education Investment Act invests in other high-demand programs, student supports and career-connected programming including:

  • $300 million for two-and four-year public colleges to increase enrollment in high-demand fields and support to “recession-proof” the state’s colleges and universities.

  • Expanded career-connected learning opportunities.

  • A student loan refinancing program that will use interest rate buy-down incentives to allow qualified borrowers to receive below-market interest rates.

The Workforce Education Investment Account that the legislation created will raise almost $1 billion over a four-year period. These dollars will come from a business and occupation tax increase on companies that employ highly-skilled workers such as high tech, accounting, engineering and consulting firms.

Contact Your Legislator

Higher education is essential for creating a strong workforce that is prepared to fill the projected 740,000 job openings over the next five years. Contact state legislators and say "thank you" for their supportive efforts in safeguarding higher education accessibility and investing in low-income students.

College Success Foundation, as a member of the steering committee of the Washington Student Engagement Network, held a highly successful student engagement day in Olympia in March 2019. Approximately 100 students voiced their support for the State Need Grant or its equivalent.

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