Financial Aid

What Types of Aid Are Available?

There are several types of financial aid: grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships.

  • Grants are what students refer to as gift aid. As long as students enroll and successfully complete the courses for which they enroll, there is no repayment of the funds.
  • Loans are repayable. Students receive funds under several conditions, including paying back the funds (with interest) in the future.
  • Scholarships are gift funds that are generally awarded to students based on specific criteria, such as merit, talent, financial need, or program of study.
  • Work-study programs are employment opportunities for students. Jobs are located on-campus or off-campus and usually relate to students' program of study.
  • Worker Retraining can help pay for tuition, books, fees, and other related expenses for individuals who lost their jobs due to economic changes and for those receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Find a Worker Retraining program at one of Washington state's community or technical colleges.

Washington Opportunity Pathways

Washington Opportunity PathwaysThe 2009 Washington Legislature authorized the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) and public institutions of higher education to label all financial aid (except student loans) as Opportunity Pathways. See detailed information about each grant and scholarship program and how to apply.

Scholarship Opportunities, universities, and private organizations may offer additional programs such as tuition waivers and privately funded scholarships. Visit for information about scholarship opportunities.


Individual grants are available to veterans to help with education expenses through the Veterans Innovation Programs.

Tax Credit May Help Offset College Expenses

Students and families who had tuition and other college-related expenses in 2009 may be eligible to claim the American Opportunity tax credit on their federal income tax returns this year.

The full tax credit, which can be claimed for eligible college expenses incurred during the 2009 and 2010 tax years, is available to taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for joint filers). A reduced credit amount is available to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes up to $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers). If a taxpayer’s income level is not high enough during the year to incur federal income tax liability, up to 40 percent of the tax credit can be received as a refund.

The new credit allows up to a $2,500 tax credit for eligible tuition and college expenses. In addition, tax filers may now claim expenses incurred during the first four years of their postsecondary education rather than only the first two.

Depending on individual circumstances, the American Opportunity tax credit may not be the most advantageous tax option for all families with higher education expenses. For guidance, consult a tax advisor or visit these Internal Revenue Service sites for additional information:

Financial Aid Contact Information

Use the CTC Employe Directory to retrieve financial aid contact information for community and technical colleges. Select the college name, and look for "financial aid" under "Category."

For More Information...

FinAid! has helpful information for students and parents needing more information on financial aid. Or contact the financial aid office at your local two-year college for more information about the programs available.


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