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Written by Lincoln Vander Veen
September 14, 2020
The Washington College Grant (WCG) is our state’s largest public financial aid tool, helping Washington residents from low- to moderate-income households attend the in-state post-secondary institution of their choice. Formerly known as the State Need Grant (SNG), the legislation that renamed and created the WCG has immediately benefited students and families throughout the state, including at Seattle University.
House Bill 2158, signed by Governor Jay Inslee last May, creates, among other things, the Workforce Education Investment Account, which acts as the funding mechanism for the WCG. With HB 2158, every eligible student is now entitled to WCG aid whereas in its previous iteration, the SNG, the program was regularly underfunded.
To be eligible for WCG aid a student must be a Washington resident, file a financial aid application, not already have a bachelor’s degree, be enrolled in a higher education institution or apprenticeship program and demonstrate financial need.
Beginning with the current academic year, students with family incomes at or below 100 percent of our state’s median family income qualify for WCG aid. The chart below shows the pro-rated grant schedule:
Median Family Income Range
Percentage of Maximum Grant
100 percent award
50 percent award
25 percent award
10 percent award
The maximum WCG for a student attending a public four-year college or university covers tuition and student activity fees at those campuses, ranging from $6,510 to $10,748. The maximum for a student attending an independent nonprofit four-year university like Seattle University is $9,739. For more facts and data about the Washington College Grant, the Independent Colleges of Washington provides a very useful FAQ page.
So what does this mean for Seattle University?
As of Winter Quarter 2019, before HB 2158 became law, 407 Seattle University students received grant aid and 96 students who were eligible but received no grant assistance. As Fall Quarter gets underway, the preliminary estimate is that 678 Seattle University students received grant aid, meaning 271 additional students compared to last year, an increase made possible by HB 2158.
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