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WA College Grant program: You could qualify for free tuition

Washington College Grant expands benefits to families in need; WCC’s fall quarter begins Sept. 24

Post Date:06/05/2019 10:00 am

Beginning fall 2019, Washington state residents can attend Whatcom Community College tuition free through the Washington College Grant program. The new program is part of the Workforce Education Investment Act, a higher education bill that Gov. Jay Inslee signed last month. It replaces the State Need Grant and is funded through an increase in the Business & Occupation Tax.

WCC’s annual tuition and fees for 2019 is expected to be $4,103 for a typical 12-credit course load per quarter for three quarters. A family of four with a total income* of up to $46,000 would receive $4,108 per student, which is enough to cover WCC’s tuition and fees. A family of two, such as a single parent with one child or a married couple with no children, whose total income is at or below $31,000 will also receive free tuition, as will a single individual whose income is $24,000 or less. Families who earn more are eligible to receive partial college funding on a sliding scale, as outlined in the chart below.

Funds that students receive from the program do not have to be paid back, and can be used on expenses other than tuition, such as housing and transportation costs. Grant dollars can be used in coordination with the federal Pell grant or other scholarships. Students can attend WCC part-time or full-time, and earn more than one degree or certificate. Beginning in fall 2020, students can receive more money and more families will be eligible.

In order to qualify, WCC students need to be a Washington state resident, demonstrate financial need, enroll in at least three college credits, maintain a 2.0 GPA, complete their degree or certificate within 7.5 quarters, do not hold a bachelor’s degree, or be in default on a student loan or aid program. There is no separate application for the program; students who completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid) application for 2019-20 are already eligible. Students who have not completed their financial aid applications should do so online at by the July 19 priority deadline for fall enrollment. 

Whatcom’s fall quarter begins Sept. 24. Current students can register for classes now, and new students are encouraged to apply today at More information about the Washington College Grant program, including additional family income charts, is available at

Download a printable Washington College Grant flier here

Amount of money WCC students can receive annually through Washington College Grant

Family of 4 Income* Up to $46,000 $50,500
$64,000 (max. income eligibility)
Family of 3 Income Up to $38,500 $42,500
Family of 2 Income Up to $31,000 $34,500
Family of 1 Income Up to $24,000 $26,000
$ You Can Receive
(WCC 2019 Tuition = $4,103
$2,876 $2,670 $2,465 $2,054


*Income: Combination of a family’s adjusted gross income plus nontaxable income.

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