OLYMPIA — Legislation to allow students to receive state financial aid for the same amount of time they can receive federal aid passed the Senate on a 34-14 vote Friday.
Senate Bill 5904, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), would align the maximum eligibility time frames for the Washington College Grant, College Bound Scholarship, and Passport to Careers programs with that of the federal Pell Grant at 150% — the equivalent of 18 full-time academic quarters.
More than 6,800 Washington students in the 2023–24 academic year are on track to complete their program but are within one year of losing state financial aid.
Nobles said consistency across programs will reduce confusion for recipients, while also lessening administrative burdens for campus financial aid staff. Currently, the maximum time frame to receive state aid varies across programs, and all are shorter than the federal standard.
“People who lose access to state financial aid before completing a program often must choose between taking on more student loan debt or dropping out altogether,” Nobles said. “Aligning eligibility time frames across state and federal financial aid programs will provide predictable, consistent support for students and families and increase educational success.”
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.