Washington House passes bill to expand college grant eligibility

House Bill 2214 aims to simplify Washington College Grant access for low-income students, passing in the House and moving to the Senate for further consideration.

OLYMPIA – In a move aimed at easing the financial burden on low-income students and enhancing access to higher education, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 2214 today. Sponsored by Representative Vandana Slatter (D-Bellevue), the legislation seeks to streamline the application process for the Washington College Grant (WCG). 

Under the provisions of HB 2214, students enrolled in public assistance programs such as Basic Food Assistance will be automatically pre-qualified for the Washington College Grant. This pre-eligibility status eliminates the need for these students to navigate complex financial aid forms, simplifying the process and ensuring timely access to crucial financial support for their educational pursuits. 

House Bill 2214 represents a crucial step forward in the ongoing effort to promote educational equity and access in Washington State. Representative Slatter, who chairs the House Postsecondary Education & Workforce Committee, emphasized the significance of the legislation in promoting educational equity and economic mobility. 

“This bill is about removing barriers and empowering students to pursue their academic aspirations,” said Rep. Slatter. “By pre-qualifying students on public assistance, we are sending a clear message: Washington prioritizes your success and wants to see you thrive.” 

The Washington College Grant, the state’s largest financial aid program, provides essential support to low-income students seeking postsecondary education. By expanding eligibility criteria and streamlining the application process, HB 2214 aims to ensure that more students can access this critical resource and focus on their academic goals without undue financial strain. 

During the House debate on the bill, Representative Slatter underscored the broader societal benefits of investing in higher education.  

“Education is a pathway to economic opportunity. By expanding access to the Washington College Grant, we are not only investing in individual students but also in the future prosperity and vitality of our communities,” Rep Slatter said. 

HB 2214 now advances to the Senate for further consideration. If enacted into law, the legislation has the potential to make a significant impact on educational attainment and workforce development in Washington State, opening doors to opportunity for students from all walks of life. 

The Temple of Justice building in Olympia. Raghvi Baloni