Table of Contents Hide
- What is the College Bound Scholarship?
- Who is Eligible for the College Bound Scholarship?
- How Does the College Bound Scholarship Work?
- What Does the College Bound Scholarship Cover?
- Key Deadlines for College Bound Scholarship
- How to Apply for the College Bound Scholarship
- Tips for Renewing the College Bound Scholarship
- College Bound Scholarship Requirements
- How Much Does the College Bound Scholarship Award?
- Can the College Bound Scholarship Be Combined with Other Aid?
- Where Can the College Bound Scholarship Be Used?
- Can College Bound Be Used Outside of Washington?
- What If I Don’t Use My College Bound Scholarship?
- Can You Lose the College Bound Scholarship?
- College Bound Scholarship FAQs
The College Bound Scholarship is a program in Washington State that helps low-income students pay for college. This scholarship covers tuition, some fees, and a small book allowance at over 60 colleges, universities, and technical schools in Washington. If you’re a middle or high school student from a family with limited income, the College Bound Scholarship can make higher education much more affordable.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the College Bound Scholarship including eligibility requirements, how to apply, key deadlines, and tips for renewal. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions about this program at the end.
What is the College Bound Scholarship?
The College Bound Scholarship is a early commitment of state financial aid to eligible 7th or 8th grade students in Washington State. Students sign up in middle school and commit to meeting the scholarship requirements throughout high school. If requirements are met senior year, the student is guaranteed a College Bound award to use toward college tuition.
This scholarship encourages low-income and first generation students to think early about higher education and take the right steps throughout middle and high school to prepare academically. College Bound connects students needing financial assistance with the promise of an affordable college education after high school graduation.
The key details about College Bound include:
- Covers average tuition (at public college rates), some fees, and a small book allowance
- Can be used at over 60 colleges, universities, and technical schools in Washington
- Is a renewable scholarship throughout a student’s college career
- Requires application and pledge in 7th or 8th grade
- Has income, GPA, and other eligibility criteria that must be met to renew each year
College Bound works to make higher education accessible and affordable for Washington residents from low-income families. With College Bound, students can focus on academics in high school knowing that tuition will be covered if they meet the requirements senior year.
Who is Eligible for the College Bound Scholarship?
To be eligible for College Bound, students must meet certain income, residency, and grade level requirements. Here are the details on who qualifies for this scholarship program:
At the time of application and pledge in middle school, the student’s family income must be below the income cutoff for their household size. For example, in 2021-2022 the income cutoff for a family of four was $65,500.
Income eligibility is determined by whether the student qualifies for the free or reduced price lunch program (FRPL) through their school. Students who qualify for FRPL meet the income requirements for College Bound.
To qualify, the student must be a Washington State resident, living in Washington at the time of application.
Grade Level Requirements
Students must apply and sign the pledge in either 7th or 8th grade. Applications are accepted from November 1st to June 30th of each year. It’s recommended that students apply as early as possible in 7th grade to ensure consideration.
Students who are homeschooled in 7th or 8th grade can also qualify if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
How Does the College Bound Scholarship Work?
College Bound operates as an early commitment of financial aid that students renew annually by meeting certain requirements. Here’s an overview of how College Bound works from sign-up through college:
7th-8th Grade: Sign Up and Pledge
In middle school, eligible students sign up and pledge to meet the College Bound requirements in high school. By completing the application, students agree to fulfill the scholarship terms to maintain eligibility.
9th-12th Grade: Fulfill Requirements
Throughout high school, students must fulfill the pledge requirements each year:
- Graduate from a Washington State high school or approved homeschool program
- Have no felony convictions
- Be income eligible each year of high school – meaning their family income must stay below the cutoff
- Complete the FAFSA or WASFA financial aid forms senior year
- Maintain a 2.0+ GPA in high school
12th Grade: Apply for Renewal
In 12th grade, students must complete the College Bound Scholarship Renewal Application to be considered for the award. This application confirms that all requirements have been maintained from 9th grade onward.
College: Receive and Renew Award
If eligibility is maintained and confirmed senior year, the student will receive a College Bound award in college. They must continue meeting College Bound requirements in college to renew the scholarship annually.
College Bound operates on a “milestone” structure where students must fulfill requirements at key points year after year to maintain eligibility. By meeting the terms of the pledge, students can renew this scholarship through four years of college.
What Does the College Bound Scholarship Cover?
College Bound provides financial assistance to help low-income students pay for college tuition and fees. Here’s what is covered by this scholarship:
- Tuition and Fees: The scholarship covers tuition rates and some fees at public college rates in Washington. This is based on the type of school you attend.
- Small Book Allowance: Recipients also get a small book allowance each quarter, usually $500 or less.
- Up to Four Years: College Bound can be renewed for up to four years of college as long as you fulfill the requirements.
- Over 60 Colleges/Universities: You can use College Bound at public two and four-year colleges across Washington. Some approved private schools and technical colleges are also eligible.
The scholarship aims to cover the full cost of tuition each year when combined with other state financial aid. Actual award amounts will vary depending on the school, program, credit load, and other grants or scholarships you receive.
College Bound helps fill the gap between tuition and other financial aid sources. Every student’s situation is different, but this scholarship can reduce out-of-pocket tuition costs significantly.
Key Deadlines for College Bound Scholarship
To receive and renew the College Bound award, you must apply and meet deadlines throughout middle school, high school, and college. Mark these important College Bound deadlines on your calendar:
In Middle School:
- November 1st: College Bound application opens for 7th graders
- June 30th: Deadline to apply and pledge for current 7th and 8th graders
In High School:
- June 30th after 9th grade: Deadline to complete annual income verification
- March: Recommended FAFSA/WASFA filing deadline
- February-March: Request transcripts for income verification
In 12th Grade:
- March: Priority deadline for College Bound Renewal application
- May: Final deadline for Renewal application
- July: College Bound award status notified
- September: Attend college orientation to accept award
- July: Deadline to complete FAFSA/WASFA to renew
- End of each term: Meet credit completion and GPA requirements
Marking down these deadlines will help you stay on track to earn the College Bound Scholarship. Never miss a deadline – set reminders on your phone!
How to Apply for the College Bound Scholarship
Applying for College Bound takes place in 7th or 8th grade before high school. Here are the steps to complete the application:
1. Check Your Eligibility
Confirm you meet the income, residency, and grade level requirements for College Bound. Use the eligibility checklist to see if you qualify.
2. Have Your Documents Ready
Gather these items to complete your application:
- Your Social Security Number
- Parent or guardian’s Social Security Number
- Previous year’s household income or current participation in FRPL program
3. Apply Online
Go to the College Bound website and select the online application. You’ll need to create an account to start and submit the form.
4. Submit Signature Page
Print and sign the signature page with a parent’s signature. Submit this to your school or send to the College Bound office.
5. Save Confirmation
Keep your application confirmation for your records. This has your student ID number for College Bound.
Submit your application between November 1st and June 30th of 7th or 8th grade. Applying early in 7th grade ensures you are set up for this scholarship opportunity.
Tips for Renewing the College Bound Scholarship
To receive your College Bound award in college, you’ll need to renew your eligibility senior year in high school. Here are tips for staying on track:
- Maintain grades: Have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA when you graduate high school.
- Meet income limits: Have your family verify income each year you’re in high school to stay eligible.
- Don’t commit felonies: Stay out of legal trouble that would disqualify you from this scholarship.
- File FAFSA/WASFA: Complete the financial aid forms required to receive the award.
- Complete renewal steps: Follow all requirements senior year and submit the renewal application on time.
- Use support services: Utilize your counselor, teachers, family, and college mentors to help you renew eligibility successfully.
Renewal protects the College Bound award you earned in middle school. Don’t let senior year be the barrier – stay focused and proactive so you can afford college.
College Bound Scholarship Requirements
To receive your College Bound award in college and renew it each year, you’ll need to fulfill ongoing criteria. Here are the key College Bound requirements to know:
In High School
- Graduate from a Washington State high school or approved homeschool program.
- Have no felony convictions.
- Be income eligible each year – verify your family is still below the income cutoff.
- Complete the FAFSA or WASFA financial aid forms.
- Maintain a 2.0 cumulative high school GPA.
- Enroll at least half-time in an eligible college in Washington.
- Maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA in college.
- Complete at least 6 credits per term if full-time or 3 credits if half-time.
- Do not exceed 125% of your degree program’s published length.
- Continue to file the FAFSA or WASFA each year.
- Do not have any drug-related felonies.
By meeting these pledge terms throughout high school and college, you can renew College Bound to help pay each year of school.
How Much Does the College Bound Scholarship Award?
College Bound awards vary in amount for each student. The actual scholarship amount depends on:
- The college or university you attend
- Number of credits you take
- Your financial need each year
- Other grants or scholarships you’re awarded
On average, College Bound covers about $7,000 per year towards tuition for public universities. For community and technical colleges, it may cover full tuition costs after other aid.
Your individual award is determined by the college once you’ve been admitted and filed FAFSA. College Bound aims to cover the gap in tuition after other grants are applied.
To estimate your potential award amount:
- Look up current tuition rates at your college
- Subtract any other grants or scholarships you’ll receive
- The remainder is what College Bound may cover
This scholarship combined with federal and state aid like the Pell Grant can reduce the tuition you pay out-of-pocket significantly.
Can the College Bound Scholarship Be Combined with Other Aid?
Yes, you can combine the College Bound Scholarship with other financial aid including:
- Federal aid such as the Pell Grant, SEOG, and Work-Study.
- Other Washington State aid like the State Need Grant.
- Scholarships and grants from your college.
- Private scholarships you’ve applied for.
- Tuition waivers from AmeriCorps, ROTC, or other programs.
- Employee tuition discounts.
College Bound coordinates with any other aid you receive to cover remaining tuition costs. Make sure to report all financial assistance when applying for College Bound and renewing each year.
Combining aid from multiple sources is the best way to reduce college costs. College Bound plays an important role in filling tuition gaps after federal and state aid is awarded.
Where Can the College Bound Scholarship Be Used?
You can use the College Bound Scholarship at over 60 colleges, universities, and technical programs throughout Washington.
Here are the Washington schools currently eligible:
Public Four-Year Colleges and Universities
- Central Washington University
- Eastern Washington University
- The Evergreen State College
- University of Washington
- Washington State University
- Western Washington University
Community and Technical Colleges
- Bates Technical College
- Bellevue College
- Bellingham Technical College
- Big Bend Community College
- Cascadia College
- Centralia College
- Clark College
- Clover Park Technical College
- Columbia Basin College
- Edmonds Community College
- Everett Community College
- Grays Harbor College
- Green River College
- Highline College
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology
- Lower Columbia College
- North Seattle College
- Northwest Indian College
- Olympic College
- Peninsula College
- Pierce College
- Seattle Central College
- Shoreline Community College
- Skagit Valley College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- South Seattle College
- Spokane Community College
- Spokane Falls Community College
- Tacoma Community College
- Walla Walla Community College
- Wenatchee Valley College
- Whatcom Community College
- Yakima Valley College
Approved Private Colleges and Universities
- Bastyr University
- Cornish College of the Arts
- Gonzaga University
- Heritage University
- Northwest University
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Saint Martin’s University
- Seattle Pacific University
- Seattle University
- University of Puget Sound
- Walla Walla University
- Whitman College
- Whitworth University
Check the complete list for all eligible schools. You must attend and enroll at least half-time in Washington to receive your College Bound award.
Can College Bound Be Used Outside of Washington?
Unfortunately, the College Bound Scholarship can only be used at participating colleges within Washington State. It cannot be applied toward out-of-state colleges or programs.
If you enroll in college outside of Washington, you will lose eligibility for the College Bound award. Make sure to confirm your school is located in Washington before accepting any scholarship funds.
The advantage of College Bound is that it helps incentivize students to pursue higher education within their home state. This keeps local talent and educated workers in Washington communities and businesses after graduation.
If you think you may attend college out-of-state, College Bound may not be the right scholarship program for you. Consider more portable scholarship and aid options that can be used across the country.
What If I Don’t Use My College Bound Scholarship?
If you’ve earned the College Bound Scholarship but decide not to use it, there are couple options:
Defer Your Award
You can defer using your College Bound award if you plan to take a gap year after high school or will enroll in college late. Deferral allows you to postpone receipt of funds for up to one academic year. You must submit a deferral request by August 15th of the year after high school graduation.
Decline Your Award
If your plans have changed and you know you won’t use College Bound, you can formally decline the scholarship. This opens up the fund for another eligible student. Declining is recommended if you’ve decided to attend college outside of Washington or have sufficient other aid sources.
To defer or decline, submit the Deferred Enrollment/Award Cancelation Form by the deadlines. Otherwise your scholarship funds will go unused if you don’t enroll on time.
Don’t let your College Bound award go to waste if you don’t plan to use it. Release the funding for other deserving students by declining or deferring if your situation changes after high school.
Can You Lose the College Bound Scholarship?
Unfortunately yes, it is possible to lose your College Bound Scholarship if you fail to fulfill the ongoing requirements. Reasons students may have their award canceled include:
- Not graduating high school or earning a GED.
- Being convicted of a felony.
- Letting your family income rise above the cutoffs.
- Not completing the FAFSA/WASFA each year.
- Failing to maintain a 2.0 GPA in high school or college.
- Dropping below half-time enrollment without approval.
- Exceeding the maximum program length at college.
To avoid cancellation, be proactive about meeting every College Bound requirement and deadline annually. If you ever feel at risk of not meeting a requirement, contact the College Bound office immediately to understand your options.
With planning and effort, you can avoid pitfalls that would cost you this valuable scholarship. College Bound opens doors for students, so protect your eligibility!
College Bound Scholarship FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the College Bound Scholarship:
Do I have to be a certain race or ethnicity to qualify?
No, College Bound is open to all eligible students regardless of race, gender, religion, or background. You qualify based on income, residency, and other published criteria.
What if my family’s income increases during high school?
You must have your income reverified each year of high school. If it rises above the cutoff, you can be disqualified from College Bound. Submit income forms annually to keep qualifying.
Can I use College Bound at out-of-state or private colleges?
No, you can only use the scholarship at approved schools within Washington State. Most private and all out-of-state colleges are not eligible.
Is College Bound the same as the Washington State Need Grant?
No, College Bound is a separate program with different criteria. You can receive both College Bound and the Need Grant to maximize coverage.
What if I’m in foster care or a ward of the court?
You still must meet the income requirements. Work with your caseworker to provide documentation if you don’t have family financial details.