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Rep. Hansen: WA College Grant gives students a shot at their dream job

The new Washington College Grant starts this fall, offering free and reduced tuition for eligible students. (Faustin Tuyambaz/Unsplash)

The new Washington College Grant starts this fall with guaranteed funding for eligible students.

For Washington students, the grant aims to make “education and training beyond high school affordable,” according to its website. Previously the State Need Grant, the new program has been expanded to include more families, more programs, and more types of credentials.


Representative Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) joined the Gee and Ursula Show on Tuesday and encouraged all eligible students to apply for the Washington College Grant as soon as possible.

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According to Hansen, students from a “family of four with income of $50,000 or less [are eligible] for full, free public tuition.” Families that make up to the state’s median family income, $97,000 per year, are eligible for discounts and partial grants, which can be “about $1,000 off at UW or WSU,” Hansen said.

The grant covers more than colleges and universities, expanding to apprenticeships, trade schools, and other education-related costs at approved private colleges or career training programs.

“We do full tuition for apprenticeships, too, skilled trades, and elsewhere,” Hansen said. “But of course, a lot of what we think of as ‘trade school’ happens in the community colleges, right? If you want to be a welder, one of the ways you do that is with a 13-week course at a community college. Well, good news: This is going to pick up the tuition for that.”

A listener and business owner texted the show to ask who will be paying for these grants.

“The whole point of this is if you’re a larger firm, that probably depends on a highly educated workforce somewhere in it, then you’re going to be paying,” Hansen said. “And if you’re a two-person shop that grosses $120,000 a year, you’re not.”

Hansen clarified that if your business is grossing more than $1,000,000 year, it would be subject to this bill. Smaller business, like the listener who owns a business with his daughter, and individuals, including a listener who is single and works in construction, would not be subject to this.

In terms of receiving help for free and reduced tuition at the federal level, Hansen hopes it is possible in the future but, for now, it has to start somewhere. For him, that start is at the state level.

“Although I would love to see national action on something like this, I think it makes sense that we would have, you know, public college funded as the public good,” Hansen said. ” … I just don’t know how realistic that is any time soon.”

For listeners and readers interested in signing up or taking advantage of the Washington College Grant, Hansen suggests students submit an application now for fall 2020.

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” … We want people to take advantage of this,” Hansen said. “We want people who thought college wasn’t even realistic or tuition was too high, you know, to know that they’re gonna have a shot to go get that job they dreamed about.”

Find more information on eligibility and how to apply at the Washington Student Achievement Council’s website here.

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