The Workforce Education Investment Act (HB 2158) was signed into law on May 21, 2019. The bill includes a number of higher education investments including the Washington College Grant, formerly called the Washington State Need Grant, designed to help students overcome financial barriers to access, decrease debt burden, and improve student success and completion.
“The program provides the most flexibility of any free college program in the nation.”
- Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State
Funds will guarantee the Washington College Grant (formerly called the State Need Grant) to all eligible students in the 2020–21 academic year. The new program will allow students from families of incomes up to $50,000 a year to attend college tuition-free, and expands eligibility for partial grants to students with incomes up to the state's median family income (approximately $92,000 for a family of four).
(Family of 4 earning $50,471)
(Family of 4 earning $91,766)
The program provides the most flexibility of any free college program in the nation. It will better help part-time students who balance classes with things such as work, family care, and health issues. The grants can serve students in registered apprenticeships and at any of the state’s private colleges and universities. The bill also allows attendance at college to qualify for the work commitment for those single parents in the Working Connections Child Care program, and extends the mandatory tuition waiver for dependents of service members who died as a result of service.
For students who still need to finance part of their education through loans, this bill creates a state program that allows students to refinance their loans at a lower interest rate.