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
Details: The Carol S. Comeau Environmental Scholarship is an award for high school seniors from Washington who are planning to pursue a degree in environmental studies. The goal is to support change for the climate crisis. To apply, you must write an essay about yourself and how you hope to make a difference in the world through your study of environmental studies.
While some scholarship awards are designed specifically as Washington scholarships, many other opportunities can benefit students within the state. These include scholarships for high schoolers, current college students, out-of-state students, DACA students, teachers, and nurses.
Deadline: March 1, 2022
Details: This scholarship is for a high school senior who will be a first-generation college student. To apply, you'll write about the obstacles or sacrifices you've faced in obtaining your education. You'll also share what your future goals are for your education and career.
Amount: $30,000; 3 winners, $10,000 each
Deadline: March 1, 2022
Details: This scholarship is meant to help women who are high school seniors or undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in a STEM field. It aims to balance out the presence of women in these fields, and is focused on improving access to students from low-income backgrounds.
Deadline: April 30, 2022
Details: This award opportunity is designed to support a high school senior who plans to study in a field focused on environmental problem-solving. As climate change progresses, new environmental issues are arising all the time. These negative impacts affect innumerable people throughout the world. To apply, explain which environmental problem you hope to solve, why, and how you plan to do so.
Deadline: May 20, 2022
Details: This opportunity seeks to boost the representation of people of color in the STEM field for a more diverse workforce. Applicants can be any high school senior or current undergraduate college student who is African American/Black and who will be (or is currently) majoring in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field.
Deadline: May 14, 2022
Details: This scholarship is open to any high school junior, senior, or undergraduate college student who is interested in air transportation – whether aviation or pilot majors. Training and education for this industry can get quite expensive. This award hopes to lessen the financial burden and remove barriers so students who wish to can pursue this career.
Amount: $23,410; 20 winners, $1,170 each
Deadline: March 3, 2022
Details: Funded by Skin Grip, this scholarship seeks to recognize undergraduate students or high school seniors who have diabetes. The opportunity hopes to offset the financial and logistical challenges of constantly managing blood glucose levels as well as paying for healthcare, insulin, diabetes devices, and supplies. Not to mention the challenges of living away from home and keeping up with studies. Because of all of this and more, the Skin Grip Diabetes Scholarship hopes to honor the resilience and determination of individuals with diabetes.
For more scholarship awards for college students, check out Bold's list of undergraduate scholarships.
Deadline: April 11, 2022
Details: This scholarship seeks to celebrate diversity and culture. It's meant for students who demonstrate openness to learning about other cultures and a willingness to share their own with others. Examples of this could include cooking food or creating art from a different culture, learning a new language, or traveling to a new place.
Deadline: April 16, 2022
Details: This award honors the immigrants that come to America and all that they contribute with their hard work ethics, brilliant minds, and differing perspectives. It also seeks to tear down barriers to immigrants so they can truly have equal opportunities with their fellow students. The fund is open to applicants who have immigrated to the United States a