Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

SSB 5195

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Allowing nonprofit institutions recognized by the state of Washington to be eligible to participate in the state need grant program.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Rolfes, Hill, Tom, Bailey and Fain).

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Allows a nonprofit institution recognized by Washington to be eligible to participate in the State Need Grant program, effective August 1, 2013.

Hearing Date: 3/26/13

Staff: Luke Wickham (786-7146).


State Need Grant Eligibility.

The State Need Grant (SNG) program assists low-income, needy, and disadvantaged students by offsetting a portion of their higher education costs. To be eligible, a student's family income cannot exceed 70 percent of the state's median family income, currently $57,500 for a family of four.

An institution of higher education is eligible to participate in the SNG program if it is a public university, college, or community or technical college operated by Washington. Universities, colleges, schools, or institutes offering postsecondary instruction in Washington that are affiliated with an out-of-state institution must meet certain criteria to be eligible. They must be a separately accredited member institution or a branch of an accredited institution that is eligible for federal financial aid, have operated as a nonprofit college or university delivering on-site classroom instruction for a minimum of 20 consecutive years within the state of Washington, and have an annual enrollment of at least 700 full-time students.

The Western Governors University.

In 2011 the Washington Legislature passed legislation permitting the Student Achievement Council to work with the Western Governors University (WGU). The WGU is a private, nonprofit, online university. It operates a state specific branch, WGU Washington. The WGU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The WGU Washington degrees are granted under the accreditation of the WGU, which is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The teacher's college programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

State statute permits the Student Achievement Council to recognize and endorse online, competency-based education.

Summary of Bill:

A nonprofit institution recognized by Washington under current law is eligible to participate in the State Need Grant program.

The definitions of eligible institutions are modified for the Get Ready for Math and Science Scholarship Program and the Gaining Independence for Students with Dependents Scholarship Program so that they do not include nonprofit institutions recognized by Washington State.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect August 1, 2013.