SB 6300
As of January 25, 2024
Title: An act relating to permitting beneficiaries of public assistance programs to automatically qualify as income-eligible for the purpose of receiving the Washington college grant.
Brief Description: Permitting beneficiaries of public assistance programs to automatically qualify as income-eligible for the purpose of receiving the Washington college grant.
Sponsors: Senators Randall, Nobles, Kuderer, Lovelett, Shewmake, Stanford and Valdez; by request of Student Achievement Council.
Brief History:
Committee Activity: Higher Education & Workforce Development: 1/26/24.
Brief Summary of Bill
  • Expands demonstration of financial need for Washington College Grant eligibility to include students who participate in Washington's Basic Food Program, the Food Assistance Program, or Apple Health for Kids. 
Staff: Alicia Kinne-Clawson (786-7407)

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.  


Students can demonstrate financial need by meeting income requirements or by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) confirming the student's participation in one of the following state public assistance programs: Aged, Blind, or Disabled Assistance Benefits; Essential Needs and Housing Support; or Pregnant Women Assistance. A student in grade 10, 11, or 12 can demonstrate financial need if their parent or legal guardian receives benefits under one of these public assistance programs and they receive a certificate from the WSAC validating their WCG financial need eligibility. This certificate validates the student's WCG financial need eligibility for one year after high school graduation upon enrollment in a higher education institution, provided the student meets the other WCG eligibility requirements.


Federal and State Basic Food Programs. Washington's Basic Food Program (Basic Food) is administered by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and provides food assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families. Basic Food includes both the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the state-funded Food Assistance Program (FAP). The FAP is for individuals who are legal immigrants and meet all eligibility requirements for SNAP except for citizenship and immigration status. Generally, an individual must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level to be eligible for benefits.


Apple Health for Kids. The Health Care Authority (HCA) administers Apple Health, the state-federal Medicaid program that provides health care for eligible low-income individuals. Apple Health for Kids is free for all children in families below 210 percent of the federal poverty level and families above that level may be eligible for the same coverage at a low cost.

Summary of Bill:

The bill as referred to committee not considered.

Summary of Bill (Proposed Substitute):

Demonstration of financial need for WCG eligibility is expanded to include students who participate in Basic Food or the FAP as well as Apple Health for Kids.


The annual list of individuals participating in the public assistance programs shared by DSHS with WSAC may only be shared to the extent allowable under state and federal law. 

Appropriation: None.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 24, 2024.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.