Financial Aid

Western helps students afford the cost of college

At Western, there are a number of resources available to you and your family to help with college expenses. More than 60% of students at Western receive financial aid in the form of grants, tuition waivers, scholarships, student employment and/or loans to help pay for tuition, books, educational supplies, housing, food, transportation, and personal expenses.

How to receive financial aid

All students are automatically considered for our merit-based and activity scholarships based on the information provided in the application for admission. Learn more about our scholarship opportunities here.

Students seeking need-based financial aid must also file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This federal form may be submitted online at fafsa.gov and becomes available October 1 each year. The FAFSA priority deadline for Western is January 31. Submitting the FAFSA after the priority deadline may limit your financial aid eligibility. Western's FAFSA code is 003802.

House Bill 1079 & The Real Hope Act

Western Washington University extends educational opportunities and resident tuition to all students who meet the criteria of Washington House Bill 1079, established by the State legislature in 2004.  Supporting all students persisting to degree, Western ensures confidentiality and protection of student education records, including immigration status. We also celebrate the passage of the Real Hope Act in Washington State and encourage eligible students to apply for State Need Grant using the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

Financial aid timeline

  • October 1 – FAFSA is available online at fafsa.gov
  • December – Students who apply for Early Action, may receive financial aid and scholarship notification as early as December
  • January 31 – Western’s FAFSA priority deadline
  • Mid-March – Western Financial Aid Awards mailed to students
  • March – August – revised Financial Aid Awards will be mailed if estimates were initially provided or if additional awards are granted.  
  • May 1 – Last day to commit to Western by submitting your enrollment confirmation form and fee

Types of financial assistance

Scholarships from Western Washington University may be awarded based on academic merit, talent, extracurricular activities, leadership and community involvement, and in some cases, need.  New students are automatically considered for most scholarships based on their information in the application for admission. Additional scholarship information is available in the Scholarship Center.

Grants are “free” money that are awarded to undergraduate students who have high financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Western participates in all state and federal grant programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Washington State Need Grant, Washington State Tuition Waivers and Institutional Grants.

Loans are funded through the federal government and are accessible to students who have filed the FAFSA. Students may be eligible for the Federal Perkins Loan, Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized loans and/or the Parent PLUS loan program. Eligibility and loan amounts are based on the FAFSA, class standing and dependency information. Loans must be repaid. For additional information on loans, please visit: www.studentloans.gov.

Work-study is a form of financial aid awarded to students with high financial need. Work-study provides employment opportunities on campus and in the local community. Students earn a paycheck for the hours worked, it is not subtracted from the tuition bill. Students may find work-study and non-work study employment opportunities through the Student Employment Center.

Outside/Private Scholarships are awards that students apply for and are awarded outside of Western Washington University. These may be local scholarships from your community, state or national awards. There are many resources for assisting students in finding these opportunities. For example, 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.

More information

Students and families are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Department for assistance through this process.