Washington College Grant. The State Need Grant was modified in 2019 and renamed the Washington College Grant (WCG). The WCG is the state's largest financial aid program and provides awards to low-income students to pursue postsecondary education. The WCG is an entitlement program with guaranteed awards for those students who qualify. The WCG award amount varies based on the institution the student attends and the student's family income. For example, for students attending the state's public institutions, the maximum award is tuition and services and activities fees for 15 quarter credit hours or the equivalent. For students attending private, four-year, not-for-profit higher education institutions, in 2019-20 the maximum award was $9,739. An eligible student may receive a WCG for five years or up to 125 percent of the published length of the student's program. Part-time students receive prorated awards.
For the 2021-22 academic year, the median family income for a family of four is $102,000.
Washington College Grant Eligibility and Award Changes. For academic years 2022-23 and 2023-24, the following WCG income eligibility thresholds and award amounts apply as follows:
|Median Family Income||Award Amount|
|0-60 percent of state MFI||maximum award|
|61-70 percent of state MFI||60 percent of maximum award|
|71-75 percent of state MFI||50 percent of maximum award|
|76-80 percent of state MFI||25 percent of maximum award|
|81-100 percent of state MFI||10 percent of maximum award|
Beginning with academic year 2024-25, the following WCG income eligibility thresholds and award amounts apply as follows:
|Median Family Income||Award Amount|
|0-70 percent of state MFI||Maximum award|
|71-80 percent of state MFI||50 percent of maximum award|
|81-90 percent of state MFI||25 percent of maximum award|
|91-100 percent of state MFI||10 percent of maximum award|
Bridge Grants. Bridge grants are annual stipends provided in addition to the WCG to provide supplementary financial support to low-income students to cover higher education expenses beyond tuition and fees.
Beginning with the 2022-23 academic year, WCG recipients who are receiving a maximum WCG award are also entitled to receive a bridge grant.
Beginning with the 2024-25 academic year, the bridge grant award amounts are as follows:
PRO: It could be as simple as a bus ticket or a broken bike or a day of childcare. For many people this is a setback, but for about 40 percent of Washington students this can lead to them leaving higher education. With this bridge we are hoping to bridge this chasm. Sometimes its a very small cost or fee that can derail a student's education journey. I do not believe that you should have to be extraordinarily lucky or wealthy to achieve a credential. This bill provides bridge grants to help with those costs as well as higher award levels for many students. This is a small investment for a really important future. The college grant allows me to engage in college life without stress. Bridge grants would help students like me further participate in college without stress. This bill makes college more accessible and affordable for more students. The cost of tuition hasn't been unmanageable, but the costs associated with college can be overwhelming. This is a pivotal step in diversifying and increasing equity in our higher education system. Students are dropping out of college because its unaffordable. Incremental steps like this will help us keep students in college and strengthen our economic position. Many students are working multiple jobs and still have to worry about meeting their daily needs while going to college. We think college should be cost free eventually, but this is a good step in that direction. The bridge grants are a vital addition to the state's program. These changes would make a true and significant difference for the students we educate. Increasingly our students are the first in their families to attend college. We applaud your efforts to expand need based aid. The students in Ms. Cohoe's class strongly encourage you to pass the bill as it will be good for students who can't pay for college.