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Washington Program Aims To Connect High School Seniors With Financial Aid Form Help

Ashle yGross

It can be a daunting process for high school seniors to apply for financial aid in order to go to college. But they can get help at events taking place around the Puget Sound region and across the state.

The Washington Student Achievement Council runs a program called the 12th Year Campaign that aims to help students fill out financial aid forms and college applications.

Rachelle Sharpe, WSAC deputy executive director, said it's important that seniors fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

“It provides them access with almost $2 billion in funding in Washington – federal funding, state funding, funding from the campus and many private scholarships require the financial aid application as well,” she said.

Compared with other states, Washington ranks 48th in the country for the number of high school seniors who fill out the free application for federal student aid. U.S. Senator Patty Murray recently wrote about this and said that low completion rate means high school seniors in Washington are losing out on as much as $50 million each year in federal grants.

“We hold these events and provide training to make sure that there are experts in a room with a computer helping students and families get through the application,” Sharpe said.

Students who are ineligible for federal financial aid because they’re undocumented can fill out the Washington Application for State Financial Aid to tap state financial aid programs such as the College Bound Scholarship and the State Need Grant.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.