Paying for College

pink piggy bank wearing graduation hat and coins

Paying for college shouldn't be a barrier to pursuing education after high school. These resources will help you apply for scholarships, federal and state financial aid and more.

Apply for financial aid

It’s important for high school seniors to submit the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FASFA) or the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) as soon as possible after they open the applications. 

Helpful videos: FAFSA FAQs video series walks you through the process and answers common questions. Financial Aid 101 understanding the financial aid application process and Financial Aid 201 understanding verification, appeals and award letters.

Community partner, Graduate Tacoma offers students and families assistance and guidance.

Types of financial aid

Understanding financial aid award letters

Now that you've been accepted to a college and received a financial aid award letter, what should you do? 

  1. Review the offer and compare it against the expenses you need to cover: tuition, housing, food, books, etc.
  2. Inform the college of any financial changes or scholarships awarded since submitting your FASFA or WASFA such as a parent losing their job, etc.
  3. Accept the awards for the college you're planning to attend. Make sure you know about their deadlines for accepting your financial aid offer.
  4. Contact the financial aid office at the college and you school's counseling team if you have questions or need help understanding your financial aid package.

Talk with your future school

One of the best sources of financial aid is the college you plan to attend. Do not be afraid to contact the financial aid office to inquire about college costs and possible forms of aid. When you receive an aid package, keep in mind that the award was put together to give all applicants the best chance of meeting each individual’s need. 

The offers will always vary from school to school. You should not look to compare the aid package dollar for dollar because each college has a different pool of money to work with and different considerations. Use the information to make the best decision for you and your family.