Residents of Washington have an average federal and private student loan debt of $33,342, ranking 25th in the country in average student debt. While this number is 9% less than the national average of $36,689, it's still a lot of money to be paid back.
Over 800,000 Washingtonians deal with student debt, with an average monthly payment of $336. Thankfully, the Student Loan Transparency Act passed in Washington in 2017 requires colleges to maintain clarity in keeping borrowers aware of their student debt status. But students can still benefit from finding means to pay for higher education other than loans—such as scholarships and grants.
The state of Washington is home to almost 90 post-secondary institutions, including colleges, universities, and technical schools.
Washington has one of the fastest-growing economies out of all the United States. The state is known for having the country's largest concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workers. Their top industries include
Washington is a very diverse state. As the state becomes more diverse over the years, the college campuses do, too.
One factor affecting the demographics of students within the state is their various ages and life situations. Studies have shown that in the year immediately after high school, 33% of young Washingtonians enroll in a technical or community college, 23% at a public 4-year university, 8% in a private institution, and 36% do not enroll in any school program. Those not in school immediately after high school are often working to save up money for their education or career training goals.
Many in Washington State juggle family and work responsibilities with educational goals. Roughly 10% attend college only, while about 50% are working on college and a job at the same time, and 36% focus on work alone.
These statistics can offer some insights into the financial burden that college places on students' shoulders, and thus the need for access to various financial aid opportunities.
Amount: $2,000; 4 winners, $500 each
Deadline: April 1, 2022