Money is available to help you go to college if you and your family cannot afford to pay the full cost. Financial aid includes grants, loans, work study, and scholarships, and can be either need-based, merit-based or a combination of both. In Washington, each financial aid program is an Opportunity Pathway.
Need-based aid is awarded to students who cannot pay for college without assistance and includes grants, loans, and work study. Need is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or other statements of financial need. Merit-based aid, generally scholarships, is awarded to students based on academic, athletic, or other achievements or criteria. Some scholarships consider both financial need and merit criteria. Most students receive a combination of aid in what is called a financial aid package that is prepared by the financial aid office at your college, university, or career school.