State House Passes ‘Interesting’ WA State Student Loan Scheme

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It has its roots in the early 2000s, now the state is apparently getting into the student loan business.

House Bill (HB) 1736 creates the WA State Student Loan Program

Long story short, in 2007 and 2019 the state created two different student loan programs, but due to competition from federal loan programs and lack of funding, they never really materialized.

Now, with the passage of this bill, the Washington Student Achievement Council will oversee this program. $65 million is the program’s annual cap, and an interesting amendment was passed by the Democrats (who created the program). Originally it was limited to student tuition only, but it is now a need-based program, it does not need to be awarded before any federal or other loans, and it requires WSAC to contact state-based financial institutions instead of a credit union.

Other terms and conditions can be found by clicking here, but it is worth reading the qualifying conditions. They understand:

“To be eligible for a loan under the program, a student must be a resident, have a family income at or below the state median family income, be enrolled at least half-time in a public institution of higher education, and complete an application for financial aid. All undergraduate students who meet the requirements are eligible…”

And another interesting requirement:

WSAC must also ensure that higher education institutions have a policy of prioritize student loans for eligible students who have greater unmet financial need, who have lower incomes, are first-generation college students and have received loans under the program in previous years. (italics added for emphasis).

Our family has first-hand experience with WSAC. Our son was a 3,991 Salutatorian in HS, an outstanding scholar and athlete. But he couldn’t use any WSAC offers or opportunities due to family income. In fact, one must be close to or below the poverty line and meet other “social” criteria to be eligible.

It appears despite its’universal sounding title, Washington’s student loan program seems to take its place alongside a plethora of other student loan opportunities that are NOT available to MANY high-achieving students due to family income and other requirements.

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