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Copyright 2020 - Zillah High School





Financial Aid

Steps to Find and Apply for Help in Paying for College




1. FIRST STEP in your search for financial aid is your future college's financial aid office.  Get to know them and use this resource as your primary resource for scholarships and financial aid information.   Go to links to Colleges & Schools and then take the Financial Aid link at their individual website. 

FASFA Logo2. SECOND STEP in your search for financial aid is "The FAFSA-Free Application for Federal Student Aid" known as FAFSA.  All ZHS Seniors should apply for Financial Aid through FASFA at   http://www.fafsa.ed.gov

Check out the FASF4caster https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1willhelp you get an early start on the financial aid process by providing you with an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid, giving you an experience similar to FAFSA on the Web, allowing you to transfer all of your FAFSA4caster data to FAFSA on the Web once you are ready to apply for aid, providing you the option to apply for your Federal Student Aid PIN and increasing your knowledge of the financial aid process, and providing information about other sources of aid.

Part of the process of filling out a FASFA form is to get a FSA ID. The FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms. Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. You apply at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm

The FSA ID process consists of three main steps:

  • Enter your log-in information: Provide your e-mail address, a unique username, and password, and verify that you are at least 13 years old.
  • Enter your personal information: Provide your Social Security number, name, and date of birth. Include your mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and language preference.
  • For security purposes, provide answers to five challenge questions.

Then you

  • Submit your FSA ID information.
  • Agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Verify your e-mail address. (This is optional, but helpful. By verifying your e-mail address, you can use your e-mail address as your username when logging into certain ED websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your username or reset your password without answering challenge questions.)

WASFA-If you are not FAFSA eligible due to citizenship you may be WASFA eligible.  Go to http://www.readysetgrad.org/wasfa 


3. THIRD STEP in your search for financial aid is to DON'T PAY FOR FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION OR HELP.

 "Learn about pitfalls and scams in Financial Aid"

Federal Trade Commission and National Fraud Information Center: Read the warning information to avoid being scammed. If you need advice about a telephone solicitation or you want to report a possible scam, call the NFIC hotline at 1-800-876-7060

1. Determine whether it is a company offering a search service or a foundation offering a scholarship.

2. Beware of scholarship sponsors who claim to guarantee you a scholarship or who require a large upfront fee. Most scholarship sponsors do not charge upfront fees of more than $5. No legitimate scholarship sponsor guarantees that you will win an award.

3. Understand that scholarship search engines (services) do not award scholarships. These companies charge a fee to compare your profile with a database of scholarship opportunities and provide a list of awards for which you may qualify. They do not provide awards directly to applicants, nor do they help you apply for the awards. The information provided by scholarship search services is available at no cost in your local public library or school financial aid office. Crooks charge high fees and provide little scholarship information. The scholarship lists they send students often contain outdated or inapplicable information. A reputable search service or book will usually yield over 50 possible scholarships.

4. Beware of search services that guarantee you will win a scholarship or a certain amount of financial aid. No search service can control the decisions of the scholarship sponsors.

5. Make sure you fully understand the refund policy. If the service promises your money back, read the fine print. Often you will find that you need letters of rejection from all the scholarship listings sent to you to collect. If one of the listings is no longer in existence, it is impossible for you to get a refund. The company may also include all types of financial aid in its guarantee. If they guarantee you $5000 in financial aid or your money back, and you don't get any scholarships through them but you do get a $5000 loan from a bank, you might be disqualified from getting a refund, even though the service had nothing to do with the loan.

6. Get the terms of service from the company in writing. Do not rely on verbal promises.


4. FOURTH STEP Use the ZHS Scholarship List http://www.zillahschools.org/ZHS/docs/scholarships/ZHS-Scholarship-List.pdf  a special page listing month by month scholarships that Zillah High School Seniors may choose to apply for.  This is updated each month, so ZHS seniors should check back often. (Families with a current email address in Skyward will get a weekly update of scholarship opportunities as part of the ZHS Newsletter.

Read  "How to Win a Scholarship" to get tips on how to complete applications for scholarship awards.


5. FIFTH STEP in your search for financial aid is to use FREE scholarship search websites.

I recommend that ZHS students start here at The Washboard.Org: Washington Scholarship Coalition website.   They are a partnership of public and nonprofit agencies coming together to build an online scholarship marketplace and provide a trusted source of scholarships for Washington State seniors. The Washington Scholarship Coalition exists to create connections and ensure scholarship funds are reaching those in need. 

These next links may be explored if you have additional time.  While they are all currently listed as free, they may not uncover new sources of scholarships or other Financial Aid.

1079-Beyond Dreaming:  Resources for non citizen students in Washington State

"1079"  Student Scholarship List The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund provides this list of potential scholarships for students in the "HB 1079" classification (Scholarships  for students regardless of residency status).  For further information contact MALDEF at www.maldef.org , 634 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (213) 629-2512 Fax (213) 629-0830

American Indian College Fund: Search for special college funding programs for qualified American Indians.

College Board's The Big Future-Paying For College: From the folks who bring you the SAT and Advanced Placement services, information including a free search data base of scholarships.

Fastweb: for free scholarship and financial aid information.

Federal Student Aid: Financial Aid information from the US Department of Education and also their Finding Scholarships help page.

Fin-Aid: The Smart Guide to Financial Aid Billed as the "smart' students guide. 

Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Special opportunities for Hispanic students.

Northwest Educational Loan Association: Helping northwest families meet the costs of higher education with many different loan programs.  This includes their valuable resource "Paying For College" online and a Financial Aid Calculator.

Washington Financial Aid Association: WFAA is a professional, membership organization of individuals whose aim is to promote higher education through the availability, support and administration of student financial assistance programs. Watch this site for additional information and updates.

Washington Student Achievement Council: provides strategic planning, oversight, and advocacy to support increased student success and higher levels of educational attainment in Washington.

Students in the State of Washington must meet several state and local graduation requirements to earn a high school diploma.  The Washington State Board of Education  (WSBE) sets the minimum requirements to earn a Washington State diploma  for specific classes, credits and testing proficiencies.  Local public high schools must have their students meet these minimum requirements before they may award a High School Diploma.  The WSBE allows local school districts to set their own requirements for graduation that may exceed the Washington State minimum requirements.  At Zillah High School we offer three diploma options depending on graduation year:


College & Career Ready Diploma (Washington State Basic) (2019-20)

College & Career Ready Diploma (ZHS Enhanced) (2019-20)

Honors Diploma 2019+

College & Career Ready Diploma (Washington State Basic) (2021+)

College & Career Ready Diploma (ZHS Enhanced) (2021+)


Students and their families can explore the requirements for each diploma and then work with the Zillah High School staff  to complete the diploma that best fits their High School and Beyond Plan.


The guidance program in Zillah Schools is a cooperative effort between students, parents, teachers, advisors, counselor and administration.  The first step is for students to share career and educational goals with parents.  All students are encouraged to investigate all career and educational options including Universities and regional 4 year schools, community colleges, technical and priority colleges, military and apprentice-OJT training and are guided to produce a plan, not only for high school graduation, but for placement in the most appropriate post-secondary setting.  Through annually scheduled guidance conferences, all students will gather additional and more specific information about careers of interest and the educational requirements to obtain that career.  Follow up letters are sent home for parents to review.  Additional follow-up conferences, including parents when desired, may be scheduled.  The total counseling program emphasizes the areas of personal, educational, and occupational decision making.  Counselors help students grow through better knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of themselves.  The ZSD guidance goal is to help students develop the ability to make sound decisions and accept responsibility for solving their own problems.  Student Assistance Program Counseling services are offered to teachers, or principal regarding problems that affect their personal and school life, for needed help.  Counseling is available on an individual and small group basis.  For students and families with special needs, off site referral for help will be offered.

The Running Start Program is a partnership between local Community College and Washington State public high schools. The program offers eligible high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to enroll in regular college classes and to receive both high school and college credit for those classes (Dual Enrollment). Students may choose to enroll simultaneously in high school and college classes, or solely in college classes. Though the high school district office pays for college tuition costs, all other costs must be paid by the student including transportation, lab fees and necessary books and supplies.

Yakima Valley College-YVC Running Start Page:


for further information including the following topics:

  • Program Considerations
  • Program Benefits
  • Information Nights
  • Applicaiton Deadlines
  • University Transfer Guide
  • ZHS-YVC Course Equivalency
  • Forms and Waivers
  • Admissions, Testing and Placement

YVC-ZHS Running Start Enrollment Procedures


Step 1  Information: Gather information from the counselor, Guidance Center, website and/or attend an information meeting held at home high school or YVC for 10th & 11th grade students and their parents. (January-February) 


Step 2  Apply: Student & parent complete a Running Start Application form available in the Guidance Center, the ZHS Website or YVC. 


Step 3  Test & Placement : Students take the placement test to check for academic readiness for college work.   Options for placement into Running Start (using GPA and Smarter Balanced Testing results from 10th or 11th grade ACT or Acuplacer Testing) 



Step 4  Notification: Student receives notification of eligibility to enter the Running Start Program, usually within one week of testing.


Step 5  HS Guidance: Eligible students make appointments with high school counselors to identify graduation requirements, review YVC equivalent courses, and develop an enrollment plan. Counselor will give students a YVC Running Start course equivalency enrollment form to complete.


Step 6  Course Selection: Student and parents will select desired courses and alternates for the equivalency form.  The website to plan for class selection is https://apps.yvcc.edu/dotnet/alerts/schedule/schedule.aspx. The student returns the course equivalency form to the counselor. The counselor will complete the ZHS equivalency information, sign the form, and return to the student to take to YVC for registration. Also required is the Enrollment Verification Form for FTE counts


Step 7 Orientation and Registration: Students attend their scheduled YVC orientation, advising and registration meeting. The completed and signed equivalency form is required. This is usually done in mid-May.


Notes to ZHS Families:


YVC Fall quarter usually begins around September 20 each year. This date is considerably later than the ZHS starting date. Registered student who decide to drop a YVC class are responsible to complete the necessary paperwork at the college to withdraw. Dropping YVC courses after the first week of the ZHS semester can cause a student to be less than full time enrolled without options to add courses at ZHS until the next semester.


Each semester YVC sends an official transcript for each student to ZHS. All YVC grades earned, as part of Running Start must also be entered on the ZHS transcript.


Seniors must complete all YVC courses that will be required for graduation by the end of the senior winter semester (March 15). YVC spring quarter usually ends June 15 and is after ZHS graduation, hence that credit cannot be counted for required credits/classes.)

High School vs. College A comparison for Running Start students 


Personal Freedom in High School


Personal Freedom in College


Your time is usually structured by others.

You manage your own time.

You can count on parents and teachers for guidance and   to remind you of your responsibilities

You will be faced with new moral and ethical decisions.   You must balance responsibilities and set priorities.

You will usually be told what your responsibilities are and   corrected if your behavior is out of line.

You're old enough to take responsibility for your   decisions and their consequences.

High School Classes


College Classes

The school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend   over both semesters and some do not.


The academic year is divided into three separate 10 or   11 week quarters, plus 3 days at the end of the quarter for final exams.

Teachers carefully monitor class attendance.

Some instructors factor attendance into final grades;   some do not take attendance at all.

You are provided with textbooks at little or no cost.

You must budget $200 or more for textbooks each quarter.  

Studying in High School

Studying in College

Study time outside of class can be as little as 2 hours   per week, and this may be for last-minute test preparation.

You should plan to study as long as it takes outside of   class throughout the quarter to achieve mastery. You will need to review   class notes and assignments regularly.  This is generally 2 hours per class per day.

Class participation is often all that is necessary to   learn what is needed.

Substantial reading and writing assignments may not be   directly reviewed in class.

You are usually told in class what you need to learn   from assigned readings.

It's up to you to read and understand the reading   assignments. Lectures and other assignments presume you have already done so.  


High School Teachers

College Teachers

Teachers approach you if they believe you need   assistance.


Most instructors expect you to initiate contact if you   need assistance.

Teachers provide you with information you missed when   you were absent.

Teachers often write information on the board to be   copied into your notes.

Instructors expect you to get notes from classmates for   information you missed.

Good note-taking skills are a must; instructors expect   you to identify the important points.


Tests in High School

Tests in College

Frequent tests covering small amount of material.


2 or 3 tests per quarter, may be cumulative, covering   large amounts of material.

Teachers may rearrange test dates to avoid conflict with   school events.

Instructors in different courses usually schedule tests   without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.

Grades in High School

Grades in College

Consistently good homework or "extra credit"   may raise your overall grade when test scores are low.

Grades on tests and major papers usually comprise most   of the course grade.

Initial low test grades may not have an adverse affect   on your final grade.

Generally, all tests contribute substantially to your   final grade. A low initial test is a "wake-up call".

Effort counts. Teachers reward a good-faith effort.

Results count. Instructors expect quality work.

guidance logoZillah High School Senior Guidance: This guide was designed to help ZHS seniors and their families review information shared at the annual Fall guidance conference and to use during the senior year as a guidance resource.


Ready Set Grad at www.readysetgrad.org is a website to help ensure every 1student in Washington State has access to the tools, information, and support they need to graduate high school and make college accessible and affordable.  Online tools help students of all ages create their own college plan. The right path for you may be a certificate program, apprentice, career-technical training, an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate college degree.


Senior Year Guidance Conference Information


Diploma Name: Order your diploma at the end of your senior conference.  Check with your parents regarding your name selection and spelling. You should use your full legal name. Your name should match other forms of legal identity such as social security card, birth certificate, drivers license.  The name on your ZHS transcript name should also match the diploma name. You will be asked to approve the typing of your name on the order form in October.  This will be your last opportunity to update your diploma name before the order is placed.

Graduation & Testing Requirements

ZHS 4 Year Plan

Senior Time Line and Important Dates


Career Information

(click on links to open information)

ZHS Career Pathways

Career Resources

Career Cluster Interest Survey

Military Career Awareness

Washington Career Bridge

Where Are You Going?-Career & Education Guide

US Bureau of Labor




4Post-Secondary Opportunities: Schools, Colleges, Military, Apprenticeship, World of Work

Lists of Colleges & Schools

Lists of Post-Secondary Representatives & Contact Information


Which Option is Best for You After High School?

Topics in this section will include information about:

  • Various schools, colleges, military, apprentice and world of work options
  • Specific information about baccalaureate universities (public and independent) and Community Colleges
  • Graduate/Professional   Degrees
  • In State Versus Out Of State Colleges including the WUE Option
  • GUR’s-General University Requirements
  • Transferring from a community college to 4 year university and how the Direct Transfer Agreement-DTA works (See YVC DTA at http://catalog.yvcc.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=2&poid=207
  • Technical Colleges and Specialty Colleges/Schools
  • Military Career and Financing Options
  • Apprenticeship Programs & OJT-On The Job Training
  • Volunteer, Community Service Work-Learning
  • ZHS Senior Placement Statistics


Be Prepared For College

ZHS College Prep 4 Year Plan

CADR-College Academic Distribution Requirements

College Visitations

          Campus Visitation Checklist

           Campus Visitation Verification Form (Senior Project)

          A Guide to Choosing A College-Asking the Right Questions on a Campus Visit

Testing for College Admission and Placement and/or Military Enlistment


Applying To Colleges/Schools 

  • Application Procedures
  • Tips on Completing Applications
  • Essays and Personal Statements
  • Letters of Recommendation for Admission
  • Interviews
  • Early Decision vs. Early Action
  • Acceptance
  • The Wait List
  • Denied Admission


Preparing for Success as a College Student 

  • College Orientation
  • How College Credits Work


Living Away From Home-Campus Housing And Meal Plans 

  • Living at Home/Commuting
  • Living Away from Home-On Campus
  • Resident Halls/Dormitories
  • University Apartments
  • Getting Ready for the Move
  • What to Bring to the Dorm
  • Moving Day Tips
  • Roommates Success
  • College Greek Life
  • Off Campus Housing
  • Meal/Dining Plans


5Financial Aid Introduction

  • Budgeting for College
  • Need and Merit Based Aid
  • Gift, Loan, and Self Support Aid
  • Federal Aid Programs-Summary
  • Grants
  • Work Study
  • Loans


Five Steps to Receive Financial Aid  

  • Contact Your Colleges/Schools for Opportunities
  • Don't Get Scammed
  • ZHS Scholarship Resources (including weekly newsletter listing of scholarships)
  • WashBoard Free Scholarship Search



The “FAFSA”-Free Application for Federal Student Aid

FSA ID (Required to apply for FASFA)

FAFSA Forecaster

FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you are not FAFSA eligible try the WASFA at http://www.readysetgrad.org/wasfa


Finding Scholarships


6ZHS Senior Project

Seniors earn 1.0 credit when they complete the project which is required for graduation. Requirements and recommendations for the Senior Project are reviewed with each student at their annual guidance conference.

During the Senior year each student is assigned a faculty advisor. The advisor will help guide the senior to successful completion of the project and will report progress for grading purposes. Seniors will be graded with a P = Pass or an F = Fail depending on their success in meeting the objective on time. The Senior Project is part of the eligibility process for the Senior year.  Due dates are announced in the spring of the Junior year. For details go to our ZHS Senior Project Website.

Financial Aid


While expensive, post secondary education is a key to professional and personal development and future financial independence.  The more education usually equals more productivity in the economy.  The purpose of financial aid is simple; to provide funds for eligible students to attend post secondary education (colleges, schools, etc.), because very few individuals or families can afford to pay the entire cost out of pocket.  

Financial aid programs are based on the philosophy that the primary obligation for college expenses rests with the student and their parents, but society/government will help meet some of their need.  Financial aid is any help given to a student to pay for the expense to attend post secondary education (college).  It could be in the form of or a combination of these types of aid: need based, merit based, gift aid, loan aid, and/or self-support aid .

Some aid you must specifically apply for. Other aid may be awarded based on reports from testing and/or application for admissions or other submitted data.

The financial aid process assists students and their families to identify and access sources to help pay for college expenses which will supplement their own contributions for post secondary education.

Financial aid professionals at the post secondary institutions work hard to offer students the best package of financial aid that is available based on the:

  • available financial aid resources at the institution
  • the cost of attending the institution
  • student's calculated need using the institution and/or Federal Methodology

Financial Aid could be in the form of a Grant, Tuition Waiver, Scholarship, Work Study or Loan. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the most important form that seniors fill out in order to qualify for financial aid.


Here are FREE Resources from Federal Student Aid

Resource English Spanish
Booklets and Brochures
College Preparation Checklist PDF PDF
2018–19 Do You Need Money for College? The Guide to Federal Student Aid PDF PDF
My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College—A Workbook for Middle and Junior High School Students PDF PDF
Federal Student Aid for Adult Students PDF PDF
Financial Aid for Graduate or Professional Degree Students PDF NA
Comparing Colleges PDF PDF
Videos and Images
Financial Aid Process video Video Captioned
Financial Aid Process graphic Image Image
Types of Federal Student Aid video Video Captioned
Types of Federal Student Aid graphic Image Image
Responsible Borrowing video Video Captioned
Budgeting video Video Captioned
Web Pages and Tools
Checklists for Academic and Financial Preparation Web Web
Career Search Web Web
College Search Web Web
College Scorecard Web NA
Scholarship Search Web Web
Glossary Web Web
Fact Sheets
2018–19 Federal Student Aid at a Glance PDF PDF
Federal Student Aid: Find the Information You Need PDF PDF
Federal Student Grant Programs PDF PDF
TEACH Grant Program PDF PDF
Federal Student Loan Programs PDF PDF
Scholarships for Military Families PDF PDF
Information for International Students PDF NA
Financial Aid and Undocumented Students PDF PDF
Educational and Training Vouchers for Current and Former Foster Care Youth PDF PDF
Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth PDF PDF
Internal Revenue Service fact sheet on education tax benefits—“Students and Parents: Why Form 1098-T Is Important to You” PDF NA
Federal Student Aid Eligibility for Students Confined in Adult Correctional or Juvenile Justice Facilities PDF PDF
Fact Sheets—Early Preparation
Saving Early = Saving Smart! Watch Your Money Grow With Your Child PDF PDF
Fact Sheets—College and Career Preparation
Why Go to College? PDF PDF

Budgeting for College

Sample Costs for Northwest Colleges and Universities

College Costs Include More Than Tuition

Every school charges what is known as tuition which is the price you pay to receive instruction at that institution. In addition, schools charge fees for things like lab supplies and the health center. You also must pay for books, room and board and other living expenses.

Each year, schools figure out the average amount a student will need to attend the school. The cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal and incidental expenses. Student loan fees, if applicable, also may be included in the cost of attendance, as well as child care and expenses for disabilities, at the discretion of the financial aid administrator.  Schools establish different budget amounts for students living on campus and off campus, those who are married and unmarried, and those with in-state and out-of-state residency status.

Try not to let a school's cost of attendance scare you away. Don't make your decision based on the cost alone. Instead, consider what the school has to offer, its location, programs, the student body, faculty, and other any other factors that are important to you.  Although you're responsible for paying for your education, financial aid can help. You won't know if a school is affordable for you until you receive your financial aid award letter in the spring of your senior year.  This page will help you develop a working budget for college.

Besides tuition, you'll have to pay for other things, such as:

     Books and supplies

     Room and board (where you live, food, utilities, etc.)

     Fees (lab, Internet, parking, registration, etc.)

     Transportation expenses

     Personal expenses



Washington Financial Aid Association Student Budgets Estimates. Average Annual Tuition and Fees

2 Year Community or Techincal College-Public ($4,000)

2 Year Techincal College-Independent/Private ($10,000)

4 Year Regional University-Public ($6,000-$7,000)

4 Year University-Public ($10,000-$12,000)

4 Year University-Independent/Private ($20,000-$40,000)

Expense Beside Tuition:  Families need to budget for other costs such as

Books and Supplies  ($500-700 per term)

Room/Board-at home-commuiting (estimate costs $4000) or

Room/Board-at college ($10,000-$12,000)

Transportation ($1000-$1500)

Miscellaneous/Personal ($1000-$2000)

     Add tuition and the above expenses to get a ballpark estimate of your total costs.


Differences Between Need and Merit Based Aid

Most financial aid programs are "need-based" which means the student and family will provide information to determine the amount the family can contribute.  Some students may qualify for both Need and Merit based aid while some may only qualify for just need or just merit based.


Need Based

Most financial aid-need based programs are taxpayer supported and administered by federal and state governments. Colleges and communities also sponsor programs to help students pay for college.

Students must demonstrate financial need in order to qualify for need based aid.  Need based aid award amounts are based on this formula:

The total cost of college.  This includes expenses of tuition, books, room, board, and miscellaneous living


Minus your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).  This is what you will be expected to pay regardless of which colleges or schools you plan to attend.

The difference from costs minus EFC will equal  your financial need.  This is the amount of need based aid that you should qualify for at the institution if you apply early.

The EFC is based your family's financial resources.  Here are some facts to consider:

  • EFC stays the same regardless of where you go to college/school.
  • EFC is always the minimum you will be expected to pay for the year before any financial aid is awarded.
  • EFC is an economic calculation and will changeThe FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the document you complete to report your family's financial status.
    • based on the age of your oldest parent
    • the number of students in college in that family
    • the income and assets of parents and the income and assets of the student.
  • October of your Senior Year in high school is the earliest you may file your FAFSA
  • You will need to have access to financial records for the year ending in December of your Junior year in high school:high GPA in college prep coursesdemonstration of special talents such as in instrumental or vocal music, athletics, theatre, art, mechanics, etc.
    • INCOME TAX RETURNS: Both your own returns and your parents/guardians returns
    • BANK STATEMENTS: Savings and checking for you and your parents/guardians
    • ALL OTHER INCOME SOURCES: Any source of income for student or parent/guardian
    • ASSET/DEBT RECORDS: Current values of assets and debts (not including residence) for both students and parents/guardiansdemonstrating mastery in an academic area such as a foreign language, robotics, nursing, etc.

Remember, since the cost to attend varies among the different colleges and schools, but the  EFC (family contribution) is constant, the student may be eligible for different amounts of need based aid at different colleges.

Many websites have EFC Calculators that may help you estimate your EFC before filing a FAFSA.   When you have estimates of the above financial records you can those plug numbers into the calculator.  An estimated EFC will then be calculated


The College Bound Scholarship: The College Bound Scholarship program (need based) is an early commitment of state financial aid to eligible students who sign up in middle school and fulfill the scholarship pledge. http://www.readysetgrad.org/college/college-bound-scholarship-program

From sign up to scholarship, we provide the tools and resources you need to get College Bound.

Sign Up: eligibility and application information

Fulfill the College Bound Pledge: frequently asked questions, academic resources for high school students, financial aid information

Access the Scholarship: FAFSA help, scholarship requirements, frequently asked questions, financial aid information


Merit Based Aid

Merit based financial aid is aid given in the form of a scholarship or grant based on a special talent or ability that the student has demonstrated and/or processes.

Merit based aid may be given in competitions (beauty, cooking, writing, art, photography, other talents, etc.) and is earned because you demonstrated a talent or ability to excel beyond the average student.

Merit based aid may include both scholarships awarded by the individual college or university and those awarded by outside organizations.

Merit based aid is typically awarded for outstanding academic achievements which can be based on

Merit based aid is awarded without regard for the financial need of the applicant. At many colleges, every admitted student is automatically considered for merit scholarships. At other schools, however, a separate application process is required.


Gift, Loan and Self Support Aid


Gift Aid: Just as the name implies gift aid is given to you as a gift. It does not needed to be repaid.  Gift aid may include grants, tuition waivers and scholarships

Loan Aid: Once again with the name we know that loan aid is a loan of money to help you get through college. Once you quit or graduate from  college you are expected to begin paying back your loans. Interest may be payable in addition to principle. Loans for students make up the majority of the financial aid packages.  Most loans are the student's responsibility to pay back after they leave college.  Some loans are the parents responsibility to pay back. These are called PLUS loans.

Self Support Aid: This kind of aid takes the form of helping yourself earn your way through college.  Work Study is the most well know program where your earnings through part-time employment arranged by the college are applied to your college expenses.  These college awarded work study jobs are supported by state and federal aid sources and at some independent colleges by private donations or foundations. Students must qualify for work study and may be considered part of a need based aid package.

Part time work you find on your own is not Work Study, but part time work is a very popular method to pay for college.  Some students work during the school year, others only on the weekends or summer time.  With part time work you do support yourself, but the wages are paid to directly to you.  The student must make their own payments to the college from this income.

College Savings Plans.  These are another form of self support aid, While there are many types of aid, it always best for you and your family to save some for college. Saving your summer work money will give you more flexibility in the activities you want to pursue at college. Hopefully the family started these several years ago rather than waiting for the senior year.  The federal government has set up some tax advantages for families who save such as with the Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, 529  Plans and Tax Benefits for college expenses. 

529 Savings Plans: A 529 college savings plan helps you save money for college. There are two types of 529 plans. One allows you to purchase tuition today that will be safe from inflation. You save money because you buy tuition in advance. The other kind relies on economic markets and a base investment that acquires interest based on the economic performance. Often such plans deposit a certain amount into your savings plans or loan accounts every time you purchase goods from certain retailers.

Other Programs Providing Self Support Options in Paying for College

Families can also check with their bank or financial advisor to determine if there is a different or complimentary program that would help you and your family save money for college.

AmeriCorps: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps By becoming a volunteer with AmeriCorps, a network of national and community service programs, you'll receive an education award of up to $4,725 each year for up to two years to pay for college or repay federal student loans. In addition, you may be eligible for forbearance and possibly deferment on your federal student loans while you're an AmeriCorps volunteer. If you serve full time, you will also receive a modest living allowance.

Peace Corps: https://www.peacecorps.gov/ At some colleges, you can incorporate your Peace Corps service into a master's degree program and may receive financial assistance for doing so. In addition, up to 70 percent of your Perkins Loan debt may be forgiven if you serve as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Teach for America: https://www.teachforamerica.org/ a member of the AmeriCorps programs, sends recent college graduates to teach for two years at disadvantaged schools. You'll be paid for teaching and participate under an alternative teaching certification program. You may also receive forbearance and interest payment benefits on your student loans. You may earn an education award of $4,725 a year to repay your student loans or for more education.

The Military: Military enlistment and service often offers bonuses, tuition assistance, college fund programs which is another form of self support aid. Scholarships are available from the Army, Navy, and Air Force through the Reserve Officers Training Corps programs at hundreds of colleges in return for serving at least four years on active duty after graduation. To learn more, go to www.armyrotc.com, www.afrotc.com, www.nrotc.com, or contact the Zillah High School recruiters

All branches of the military provide tuition assistance for college courses and some offer loan assumption benefits. To learn more, go to www.todaysmilitary.com or contact the Zillah High School recruiters http://www.zillahschools.org/ZHS/index.php/guidance-center/military-career-awareness

Finally consider the Washington Army or Air National Guard programs. The National Guard is a citizen soldier/airman who commit to being a back up  to the regular Army or Air Force in time of crisis.  Normally the commitment is for 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks summer camp during the year for a 5-7 year period of time.  Guards are paid for this service.  In addition then, the Washington Guard has many college plan and tuition assistance programs available for those students not wishing full time military commitments.  While deployment to full time service in time of crisis or war is possible, the National Guard does offer some guarantees about college before deployment.  Contact the ZHS recruiters for further information on National Guard options.


Grants are gift aid.  They may be need or merit based, but most are need based. State and federal grants are awarded to students who qualify for need based aid, and who apply early, using the FAFSA. 

Pell Grants: The Maximum Federal Pell Grant for 2016–17 (July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017) will be $5,815. The amount an individual student may receive depends on a number of factors. Learn more via the links below:

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): An FSEOG is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need, that is, students with the lowest EFCs. Priority is given to students who receive Federal Pell Grants. An FSEOG doesn’t have to be paid back. Each school participating in the Federal Pell Grant Program will receive enough money to pay the Federal Pell Grant amounts its eligible students qualify for. Every eligible student might not receive an FSEOG, however; students at each school will be awarded these funds based on availability at that school. FSOEG range between $200 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your need, the funding level of the school you’re attending, and the policies of the financial aid office where you attend school. Your school will credit your account, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. Schools must pay students at least once per term.

Washington State Need Grant: http://www.readysetgrad.org/college/state-need-grant A program that helps the state’s lowest-income undergraduate students pursue degrees, hone their skills, or retrain for new careers. Students can use the grants at public two- and four-year colleges and universities and many accredited independent colleges, universities and career schools in Washington. The award can be up to $10,000 per year based on need. 

Tuition Waivers: In Washington State colleges may offer tuition waivers.  This is a college level offering which is a gift aid award.  It may be need or merit based. Contact the colleges for specific information on this type of aid.

Work Study

Both Federal and State programs allow students to work on campus to help pay for tuition and room/board expenses.  Since this is earned aid, it does not have to be paid back.

Federal Work-Study: The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to each student’s course of study.  You’ll earn at least the current federal minimum wage, but the amount might be higher depending on the type of work you do and the skills required.  Your total Federal Work-Study award depends on when you apply, your level of need, and the funding level of your school.


If you’re an undergraduate, you’ll be paid by the hour.  If you’re a graduate student, you might be paid by the hour or you might receive a salary, depending on the work you do.  Your school must pay you at least once a month. Your school must pay you directly, unless you request that the school make payments to your bank account or use the money to pay for your education-related institutional charges such as tuition, fees, and room and board.


If you work on campus, you’ll usually work for your school. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed must be in the public interest. Some schools might have agreements with private for-profit employers for Federal Work-Study jobs. These jobs must be relevant to your course of study to the maximum extent possible.


The amount you earn can’t exceed your total Federal Work-Study award. When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your class schedule and your academic progress.

State Work Study: The State Work Study program helps students from low- and middle-income families earn money for college while gaining experience whenever possible in jobs related to their academic and career goals. Students can use the work study grants at public two- and four-year colleges and universities and many accredited independent four-year colleges and universities. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

Awards are based on the availability of funds and your determined financial need. While awards vary, students generally earn between $2,000 and $5,000 per year. Students work an average of 19 hours per week during the academic year and up to 40 hours during school breaks. You will be considered automatically for State Work Study when you file the (FAFSA). Contact your school financial aid office for more information



There are many kinds of loans with special features.  Most loans, other than the conditional types, must be paid back.


The U.S. Department of Education has two federal student loan programs:

  • The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program is the largest federal student loan program. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. There are four types of Direct Loans available:    
    • Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school. 
    • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan.
    • Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.
    • Direct Consolidation Loans allow you to combine all of your eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single pyament plan https://www.studentaid.ed.gov/log-in">loan servicer.
  • The Federal Perkins Loan Program is a school-based loan program for undergraduates and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Under this program, the school is lender. If you have questions about Perkins Loan eligibility, please contact your school's financial aid office. 

Compare all of the federal student loan programs.

Loan Forgiveness

There are some opportunities for loan forgiveness, in other words reducing or canceling your debt. These are usually run through federal or state programs or the military where you work in an area of need and in exchange for your work, in addition to a salary, you receive credits or repayments for your loans. 

The Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs were created to address the critical shortage of health care professionals in Washington State. In return, participants agree to provide primary care health service in rural or underserved urban areas with designated shortages.                           

The Future Teachers Conditional Scholarship and Loan Repayment program is designed to encourage outstanding students and paraprofessionals to become teachers, and to encourage current teachers to obtain additional endorsements in teacher shortage subjects. In return for scholarships or repayment of student loans, program participants agree to teach in Washington K-12 public schools. 

Conditional scholarships or loan repayments cannot exceed your tuition and fees or the full-time resident undergraduate tuition and fees at the University of Washington - whichever is lower.  Participants are eligible to receive conditional scholarships or loan repayments for up to five years. Award amounts are determined each July .

If you are a teacher in a low-income school or subject matter shortage area, you may be eligible for a cancellation or deferment of your student loans through a federal program. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Education.



Testing Links and Resources


Career Assessments: 


ASVAB Career Preparation website www.asvabprogram.com  This program is designed to help students learn more about themselves and the world of work, identify and explore potentially satisfying occupations, and develop an effective strategy to realize their goals.

Military.com Go to www.military.com/ASVAB to learn about the ASVAB and to take free ASVAB practice tests.

March 2 Success: Go to www.march2success.com/indexs.htm   Standardize testing preparation including ASVAB and more is located at this site.

Washington State Employment Security Department: Learn about an Occupation

Where are You Going?" Student Career Guidebook (170+ pages) on line. This is the on-line version of the popular booklet used at ZMS and ZHS for the past several years. Now in the electronic, updated presentation you can review interests and match them to careers, review career requirements and training programs, locate schools that offer the training to match the careers and learn about work preparedness. A top notch site for the career researcher.

Washington Career Bridge: Connect your interests with a career by taking a quiz. www.careerbridge.wa.gov/Survey_Cluster.aspx Get career resources and career counseling. Career Bridge is here to help you reach your career goals  Career Bridge is a one-stop, searchable database of education and training programs throughout Washington state where you'll discover: The new home of the state's Eligible Training Provider (ETP) List. Average earnings and employment outlook for each career choice. Hot jobs for the future. What you'll need to learn to get those jobs. This site was created by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, a partnership of labor, business and government dedicated to helping Washington state residents obtain and succeed in family-wage jobs, while meeting employers' needs for skilled workers. Now find the education and training you need to get the job you want. 

Get a regional view of occupations that are in-demand.

Apprenticeships Earn while you learn. Here's how.


Pre College Testing

The PLAN® program helps 10th graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success and provides information needed to address school districts' high-priority issues. It is a comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their current academic development, explore career/training options, and make plans for the remaining years of high school and post-graduation years.  Consider also a "Pre-ACT" exam

PSAT/NMSQT The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. It also gives students a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs and is currently listed as an optional test for WASL equivalency for the Washington State Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) for graduation.



College Entrance Testing 

ACT (American College Testing) The ACT Assessment is designed to assess high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. An optional "writing" test may be added on.  Many colleges are now requiring a writing sample and this exam would cover that requirement. Also check out ACT College Career Planning Register on-line or get information.  Remember the ZHS school code is 481635.

SAT (College Board including SAT, Advanced Placement): The College Board is a national nonprofit membership association whose mission is to prepare, inspire, and connect students to college and opportunity. Each year, the College Board serves over three million students through major programs and services in college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning.  Register on-line or get information.  Remember the ZHS school code is 481635.

March 2 Success: Go to www.march2success.com/indexs.htm. Standardize testing preparation including ACT/SAT.

Compass Testing is taken for placement in Reading, Writing and Math at the community college level in Washington State.  Normally high school seniors take the Compass Test in the spring of their senior year.  YVCC is or closest testing station.  Students may call 509-574-4738 to schedule an appointment.  Compass scores taken at YVCC can be transferred to other community colleges of your choice.  Students interested in entering the YVCC Running Start Program must take this same Compass test to qualify for Running Start.

Check out the Study Resources for the COMPASS Test at www.yvcc.edu/admission/highschool-options/RunningStart/Pages/TestingInfo.aspx 


Math Placement Testing (Washington State 4 year Colleges)

APTPT/MPT The Academic Placement Testing Program (APTP) is a cooperative program of Washington State public baccalaureate institutions. Faculty from participating institutions have created the Mathematics Placement Test (MPT) to help students, with the assistance of their academic advisers, select first-year mathematics courses for which they are best prepared. The program is managed by the Office of Educational Assessment on behalf of participating institutions. 


Test Preparation Resources

Free Practice Test Resources This website lists free practice tests and sample test questions for these tests: ACT, Accuplacer, ARDMS, ASVAB, CAHSEE, CBEST, CCRN, CDL, CEN, CFA, CFP, CGFNS, CLEP, CNOR, COMPASS, Contractor Exam, CPA, CSCS, CSET, DANB, DAT, Dietitian Exam, EPPP, FCAT, FPGEE, FSWE, GED, GMAT, GRE, HOBET, Home Inspector Exam ,HSPT, ISEE, Life and Health Exam ,LSAT, MAT, MCAT, NAPLEX, NBRC, NCBTMB, NCIDQ, NCLEX, NPTE, NREMT, Nursing Exam, NYSTCE, OAT, PANCE, ParaPro, PCAT, PHR-SPHR, PMP, Praxis, Property Casualty Exam, PSAT, PTCB, SAT, SERIES, SERIES 7, SSAT, TEAS, TOEFL, USMLE, Wonderlic.

GEIF-Free ACT practice www.actexampracticetests.com


Washington State Testing Programs

Washington State Testing: A resource page to provide information to students and parents regarding Washington State testing programs. Washington uses the grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) and the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) to test its students. The HSPE is used as the state’s high school exit exam. In spring 2011, the state will begin using end-of-course exams in math.

Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) The name of the MSP, given to students in grades 3-8, conveys the goal of the test: to measure student progress. Please contact your school and/or district for the exact testing dates in your area.

High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) This test measures the proficiency of students in high school and serves as the state’s exit exam for reading and writing. Students in the classes of 2011 and 2012 must pass this assessment or a state-approved alternative in reading and writing in order to be eligible to graduate. Students in the class of 2013 and beyond must pass reading, writing, science and two math end-of-course exams in order to graduate.

End-of-Course (EOC) Exams-Beginning in spring 2011, students in grades 7-12 will begin taking end-of-course math exams. The state is moving to end-of-course exams so students can be tested on the knowledge and skills they’ve gained from a specific course rather than on a comprehensive test like the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) which assesses overall knowledge. In spring 2012, students will be offered an end-of-course exam in biology.

CAA/HSPE Options Information: Once a student has taken either the WASL or HSPE but failed to demonstrate skills sufficient to earn a diploma, alternative ways to demonstrate students meet standards and skills become available.

Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) and Classroom-Based Performance Assessments (CBPAs)
The state supports the development of classroom-based assessments that are based on the state’s learning standards and help guide day-to-day instruction. State curriculum specialists create tasks and questions that model good assessments and provide them to local school districts.

Washington State Testing-Frequently Asked Questions