Washington State House Democrats


Gov. Signs Slatter Bill Expanding Access to Higher Education

OLYMPIA – Earlier this month, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 2214 that will remove barriers to eligibility for low-income high school students to access the Washington College Grant (WCG).  By request of the Washington Student Achievement Council, this law provides an affordable path for students to seek post-secondary education credentials including two-year or four-year college degrees, approved apprenticeships, and certificate programs or job training.

Sponsored by Representative Vandana Slatter, who also chairs the House Postsecondary and Workforce Committee, HB 2214 will streamline the process to access state financial aid and build awareness of higher education opportunities for students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade who receive SNAP benefits or food stamps.

Starting in the 2025-26 academic year, these students will know they automatically qualify for the Washington College Grant without needing additional paperwork to prove their low-income eligibility. The Washington College Grant is an income-based grant that is considered one of the most generous and equitable financial aid programs in the nation.

“This change is a big win for students facing financial barriers to higher education” said Rep. Slatter. “The WCG can significantly reduce the cost of college for low-income Washingtonians by letting them know they have the means to attend college and a path to a college degree or apprenticeship and a fulfilling career. This strengthens families, communities, and our economy.”

Additionally, students qualifying for the WCG through this new system will receive yearly reminders to complete the FAFSA or WASFA applications. These applications can unlock even more financial aid, further supporting students on their college journey.

This law represents a significant step towards making college accessible to everyone in Washington. By removing obstacles and providing financial support, the state is investing in workforce needs and a strong future for all Washingtonians.