Seniors, if you are applying to colleges/universities and tech/trade schools, you should be applying for financial aid in the fall. Financial aid is money that is available to students to help cover the cost of attending a college/tech or trade school (tuition, fees, books, room/meals, supplies). Filling out the 2024-25 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the best way to apply for financial aid. The FAFSA will open the end of December. For most financial aid, a student does not need to know where they are going to school. The earlier you apply ... the BEST shot you will have at receiving the most financial aid.

The FAFSA is the method the federal government uses to determine how much you and your family can afford to contribute to your education, and then how much in grants, scholarships, loans and work study the federal government will offer you the student. It is also how the college you will be attending, determines what need-based scholarships and grants, as well as loans and work study they can offer you.

If you’re not eligible to submit the FAFSA  and you’re a Washington resident (i.e. if an undocumented student), you can fill out the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA), which will be used instead to determine state and university need-based financial aid options.

The biggest misconception is that students are not going to fill out the FAFSA, because they won’t be eligible for financial aid... this may be true regarding receiving aid from the Federal Government, but the FAFSA is used by colleges to determine merit / need-based/other scholarships. In December, it will be time to fill out the  FAFSA or WASFA!

Need help filing? Check out the Financial Aid page for more FAFSA & WASFA information!

Additional resources: 

This is an in-depth guide which offers information about:

  • The different types of financial aid available, including grants, loans, and scholarships
  • Steps for how to gather documents and fill out the FASFA
  • Expert financial aid advice for getting the most aid
  • Tips for how to successfully pay back student loans
  • An infographic breaking down the rising costs of college