WA Resident Scholarships for First-Year Students

Western Washington University offers merit-based, leadership, activity and diversity scholarships for talented first-year students including Washington Running Start students. This is only a partial list, offered as a resource to incoming students. For additional details and the most up-to-date information regarding scholarship opportunities at Western, please visit the Scholarship Center. Availability and scholarship amounts are subject to change.

Admissions Achievement Award

These highly-competitive merit scholarships for incoming first-year students are based on students' academic performance measured by both their high school grade point average and standardized test score (either ACT or SAT). Scholarships range from $1,000-$6,000 and are awarded for the first year of enrollment. 

Selection for these scholarships is based on information provided in the application for admission, including cumulative GPA, test scores and rigorous coursework. Roughly the top third of admitted first-year students are Admitted with Distinction and are considered for some level of Achievement Award. No separate scholarship application is required. You may also complete our online Net Price Calculator for an estimate of your financial aid and scholarship eligibility. 

There may be additional merit-based scholarships and grants available beyond the Admissions Achievement Award. For example, the Western Foundation Scholarships ranging from $1,000-$2,000, are supported by the generous contributions of individuals and businesses in the greater Bellingham and Seattle area, and are awarded to first-year students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement. The Admissions Office also awards the WWU Opportunity Pathways Grant and Western Scholars Awards as merit-based scholarships that range from $1,000-$2,000 for first-year students.

Donor scholarships

Western Washington University has a generous alumni and donor community who sponsor a variety of scholarship opportunities for first-year students.  These scholarships range from $500-$6,000 and some may be multi-year awards.  The criteria vary for each scholarship and may include outstanding academic achievement, an interest in a particular major or program, financial need, or specific involvements. These scholarships are awarded based on information provided in the application for admission; no additional application is required.

Additional leadership, diversity & program scholarships

Western Washington University has a number of additional programs that recognize a student’s experience and potential for success in leadership, service learning and academic program involvement. Western’s Distinguished Scholars programs combine students’ interests and experience with distinctive opportunities on campus and may also include a scholarship.  There are leadership and service learning programs and specific majors or departments that may award scholarships to incoming students.  Most of these scholarships are awarded based on the information provided in the application for admission, however, the scholarships listed below require additional information from the student.

Multicultural Achievement Program (MAP) Scholarship

The MAP Scholarship ranges from $2,000-$3,000 in the first year and is awarded to first-year and transfer students whose application demonstrates an ongoing commitment to multiculturalism. Interested students are encouraged to use their application essay to describe any activities they have been involved in related to diversity or multiculturalism and explain how they will actively contribute to a diverse campus community at Western. Alternatively, to be considered, students may also submit a separate MAP scholarship essay providing that information to admissions.counselors@wwu.edu. Priority is given to residents of Washington state who submit their application for admission by the deadline.

American Indian Endowed Scholarship

The American Indian Endowed Scholarship helps financially needy students with close ties to a Native American community to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies. Scholarship money comes from interest generated through an endowment funded by private contributions and the state. Students can use the scholarships at public colleges and universities and accredited independent colleges, universities and career schools in Washington. The program annually awards about seven new scholarships and 10 renewal scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2,000. Students are eligible to receive scholarships for up to five years. Contact the Scholarship Center for details.

Nahbi Ram Joshi Scholarship

The Nahbi Ram Joshi Scholarship was established by one of Western's most devoted patrons, Miriam Snow Mathes, in memory of Nahbi Ram Joshi, a foreign student who passed through the university over 90 years ago. Qualified applicants must be full-time undergraduate Western Washington University students. New first-year and transfer students are eligible to apply. Scholarship applicants must either have been born in India or have a parent or grandparent born in India and must demonstrate strong leadership qualities as well as high academic merit. Contact the Scholarship Center for details.

Forensics (Debate) Alumni Scholarship

The Forensics (Debate) Alumni Scholarship that equals in-state tuition for one quarter is awarded to one or more entering first-year students with demonstrated success in high school forensics who plans to participate in Western's forensics program. Contact the Communication Studies Department for details.

Fairhaven College Entrance Scholarships

Several Fairhaven College Entrance Scholarships are awarded to first-year and transfer students who are new to both Western Washington University and Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, and selection is based on financial need and academic ability. Scholarships are approximately $500 per academic year. Contact Fairhaven College at (360) 650-3680 for details.

Pete Steffens Native American Scholarship

The Pete Steffens Native American Scholarship was established in honor of former professor Pete Steffens; an advocate, journalist and one of the founding professors of the Department of Journalism. Western students are eligible to receive the scholarship in any year of their studies, from their first year through graduate studies.  Preference is given to Native American and other Indigenous students from the US or Canada, those with financial need and students interested in studying Journalism. Applications will be available mid-May.

All-Washington Academic Team scholarships

Each community college in Washington state is invited to nominate two students, including Running Start students, to the All-Washington Academic Team based on academic achievement and community service.  Western guarantees a minimum scholarship award of $2,000 across all university scholarships to any member of the All-Washington Team who enrolls at Western.

National Merit Scholarship

Western Washington University recognizes National Merit Finalists with a guarantee of a minimum scholarship award combination of $10,000 across all university scholarships, distributed over four years of consecutive undergraduate study. To be eligible, National Merit Finalists must indicate Western Washington University as their first choice school on their Online Scholarship Application (OSA) with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation by May 15.

The WashBoard.org

Additionally, TheWashBoard.org is a free, student-centered, online clearinghouse for both Washington residents and students attending Washington colleges and universities who are seeking college scholarships. WashBoard.org allows students to search and apply for verified scholarship opportunities that are specific to their academic interests, college, university, or other criteria.