• Free Application for Federal Student Aid - FAFSA

    Filling out the FAFSA is the key way you can get money to pay for college. Money may be a grant where the government gives you money that you do not have to pay back. Or it may be a loan which in most cases, you do not have to pay back until after you graduate. Employment or "work study" while you attend college is also an available option.
    It is recommended that all students fill out the FAFSA application even if they are not low income. Several scholarships require proof of your FAFSA application as part of their process. In general, borrowing money for college is one of the best investments you can make.
    If you would like to quickly get an idea of what types of financial aid you would be elligible for, go to FAFSA4CASTER http://https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1
    Cost of College
    The cost to attend community college is about $4,500 per year if you are living at home. Your education can increase your earning potential from $20,000 to $30,000 per year so you can use your additional income to pay off your loans very quickly if you choose. And over your life time you will make hundreds of thousands of dollars more. Your education is worth the investment.
    The cost to attend a public university in Washington is usually between $6,000 to $10,00 for books and tuition. The cost of living on or near the campus can add significantly to the cost of college. Private colleges are usually significantly more expensive.

    Here is some information to help you and your parents understand FAFSA. Lots more information is available on http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/ or to access an online application go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

    Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    • A standard form that collects information about the student and family
    • May be filed electronically or using paper form
    • Available in English and Spanish
    • Aid awarded primarily on the basis of financial need
    • Must apply every year using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    Types of Financial Aid available through FAFSA

    Pell Grants

    • Money that does not have to be paid back
    • Usually awarded on the basis of financial need

    Loans – Stafford, Federal Perkins,or PLUS

    • Money students and parents borrow to help pay college expenses
    • Repayment usually begins after education is finished
    • Only borrow what is really needed
    • Look at loans as an investment in the future


    •  Allows student to earn money to help pay educational costs
    • May be a paycheck; or Non-monetary compensation, such as room and board


    • May be filed at any time during an academic year
    • No earlier than the January 1st prior to the academic year for which the student requests aid
    • For the 2012-13 academic year, the FAFSA may be filed beginning January 1, 2012
    • Colleges may set FAFSA filing deadlines

    FAFSAon the Web

    • Website: www.fafsa.gov
    • FAFSA on the Web available on  January 1 of each year
    • FAFSA on the Web Worksheet - used as “pre-application” worksheet
    • Questions follow order of FAFSA on the Web

    FederalStudent Aid Personal Identification Number (FSA PIN)

    • Website: www.pin.ed.gov
    • Sign FAFSA electronically
    • Not required, but speeds processing
    • May be used by students and parents throughout aid process, including subsequent school years


    • To be eligible for financial aid you must . . .
    • Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen
    • Be registered with the Selective Service (if required)
    • Be enrolled in a program of study and are enrolled in classes that lead to a degree or certificate offered  that is at least one year in length.
    • Have a high school diploma, GED certificate or demonstrate (through official testing) an ability to benefit.
    • Demonstrate financial need
    • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
    • Not be in default on any student loan or owe a repayment on any grant received at any institute of higher education.


    Each college or university has different requirements regarding when you need to file your FAFSA application. You filing on time helps them to process your financial aid so that funds are available for you in the fall. You may be able to file later than these dates but your application and funding may be delayed. The following dates are for guideline purposes only. Please check with the institution you plan to attend to determine their specific date.



    February 15

    Skagit Valley College

    February 20

    University of Washington

    February 28

    Whatcom Community College

    March 1

    Central WU

    March 15

    Bellingham Technical College

    April 30