In-State Tuition, Financial Aid and DACA

Washington State is one of 19 states offering in-state tuition and one of six states offering some form of state financial aid to undocumented students. 

HB 1079 and SB 5194: In-State Tuition

In July 2021, a new law (SB5194) replaced 2003’s HB 1079 making it easier for all Washingtonians, including undocumented students, to get resident tuition and state financial aid.

To qualify, students must complete an affidavit affirming they have met the following conditions:

  • Earn a high school diploma, GED, or diploma equivalent before their first term at the college determining residency.
  • Maintain a primary residence in Washington for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before their first term at the college determining residency.
  • Sign the affidavit linked below saying they meet the above requirements and that one of the following is true:
    • They will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States (green card) as soon as they are eligible to apply. And that they are willing to engage in activities designed to prepare them for citizenship, including citizenship or civics review courses or
    • They are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident.

To apply, complete the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit/Declaration/Certification and turn it in to the Admissions office at Seattle Central College in room BE 1104.

SB 6523: The REAL Hope Act (WASFA)

On February 26, 2014, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the REAL Hope Act (SB 6523). Beginning with the 2014–15 academic year, this new law expands eligibility for the Washington College Grant (formerly known as the State Need Grant) to non–citizens who qualify for in-state tuition under HB 1079 (and now SB 5194) and meet other eligibility requirements. 

To learn more about what is requested, review the WASFA Application Guide or find out if you qualify for State financial aid by filling out the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid).
* Washington State offers financial aid to students who are not eligible for federal financial aid because of immigration status. Students only have to fill out one application, either the FAFSA or WASFA depending on their immigration status. If a student is undocumented, has DACA, the WASFA might be the best application to fill out.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is a program, announced on June 12, 2012 by President Barack Obama that protects eligible applicants from deportation and gives them work authorization for a renewal period of 2 years. It is important to note that DACA provides lawful presence but it does not provide lawful status. DACA is a program fought for and won by undocumented immigrants. More than 800,000 undocumented youth/adults nationwide receive this temporary relief. In Washington, approximately 18,000 undocumented youth and adults are DACA recipients and the City of Seattle estimates about one-third to one-half of them live in Seattle-King County. For more information visit, United We Dream or the City of Seattle.

DACA Update from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Important information about DACA requests: Due to federal court orders, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew deferred action under DACA. USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. For more information, visit Renew Your DACA.

Additional Information and Resources

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and Colectiva Legal del Pueblo occasionally organize DACA renewal clinics in Seattle and across Washington. If you are a current DACA recipient, it is recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative to explore whether you might qualify for another pathway to obtain immigration status. If you live in King County or work in Seattle, you may qualify for Seattle-King County Immigrant Legal Defense Network services