Explore Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to eligible students who enroll in certificate and degree programs; but not all programs are eligible. Apply early and meet priority dates to have the best likelihood of being eligible for maximum funding each year.

You must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for most assistance. Financial aid is designed to cover the gap between your own financial resources (savings, income, help from parents or guardians, etc.) and school expenses. Financial Aid can be grants, scholarships, low-interest loans, and student employment.

Apply between October 1 and May 15 each year that you are enrolled at BTC. Please be sure to activate your BTC email. BTC Student Financial Resources correspondence will be sent to the email address that you listed on the FAFSA.


Processing Updates:
We are continuing to process financial aid applications for the 2023-2024 academic year (summer quarter 2023 through spring quarter 2024).  Students enrolled are given priority before students not enrolled.
As of March 01, 2024, we are determining eligibility for students who have submitted all required 2023-2024 documents and enrolled in Spring quarter classes.


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FAFSA Simplification

The new FAFSA and WASFA are here!

The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of the application and processes used to award financial aid. Students will see these changes starting with the 2024-2025 school year (summer 2024 through spring 2025). The process for the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid) will include many of the same changes that will occur with the FAFSA.

The Department of Education has announced that the transferring of completed FAFSA applications to colleges will be delayed. After you have successfully completed your application, you should receive an acknowledgement email from Federal Student Aid confirming the submission. Our office will not receive any completed FAFSA applications until March (current estimation). Students are also not able to go back into their FAFSA application to make any corrections until then. Stay up to date with information from Federal Student Aid. Processing for the 2024-2025 aid year is anticipated to begin in May.

Benefits of the new FAFSA

  • A more streamlined application process and fewer questions to answer.

  • Expanded eligibility for federal financial aid including the Federal Pell Grant

  • Reduced barriers for certain groups of students

  • Income information with the IRS automatically populates on the FAFSA.

  • Students who submit a WASFA will continue to manually enter their income information.

Key Changes to be aware of

  • The new 2024-2025 FAFSA and WASFA are now open!

  • The FSA ID is more important than ever. All students and their parent(s) must have an FSA ID to submit the FAFSA. There is a one to three business day waiting period when setting up a new FSA ID. Watch a step-by-step video of how to create an FSA ID.

  • The Expected Family Contribution “EFC” will no longer be used. In its place, the Student Aid Index “SAI” is now used to assess a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. The SAI can be as low as -1500 for the neediest students.

  • Students and contributors will no longer need enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval. Applicants and contributors are required to consent to the IRS Data Exchange which will automatically import tax information into the FAFSA.

  • Dependent students may be required to report a different parent on the 2024-2025 FAFSA or WASFA compared to prior year applications. Students will begin to report the parent who provided the most financial support in the 12 months prior.

  • Pell Grant eligibility changes. Students from families who earned less than 175% and single parents who earned less than 225% of the federal poverty level will receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by the Student Aid Index (SAI).

How Can You Prepare?

  • Get ready by making sure you have your FSA ID ready.

  • See how the FAFSA Simplification changes impact what you may qualify for. Use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to see what you may now be eligible for

  • Watch what Federal Student Aid has to say about FAFSA Simplification.

Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA)

How Is the WASFA Being Impacted?

  • The Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) for 2024-2025 is now open!

  • This page will be updated with WASFA changes and how state aid is impacted.

  • Follow Washington Student Achievement Council’s WASFA website as well for additional resources.


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How to Apply

To receive most types of financial aid, you will need to complete the following steps.  You are encouraged to begin these steps approximately two months before you plan on attending.

1. Submit your application for financial aid (FAFSA/WASFA)

Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) IF ONE of the following applies to you (the student):

  • U.S. Citizen
  • U.S. permanent resident with a Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as a "Green Card")
  • Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
  • Eligible non-citizen with I-94
  • Students in default with their Federal Student Loan may qualify for the Fresh Start Initiative.

Complete a Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) if the following apply to you (the student):

  • Graduated from a Washington high school or obtained a GED and lived in Washington for three calendar years.
  • You do not qualify for federal financial aid and are unable to submit a FAFSA.  There are various reasons a student may not qualify for federal financial aid such as being undocumented, immigration status or owing a repayment on Pell Grant. 

Be aware that there may be two FAFSA/WASFA applications open at the same time. The following shows which application to complete based on the quarter you will attend.

If you plan to attend Summer 2022 through Spring 2023, complete the 2022-2023 FAFSA or WASFA.
If you plan to attend Summer 2023 through Spring 2024, complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA or WASFA, available October 1, 2022.

2. Check your Financial Aid & submit documents

  • About one week after submitting your financial aid application, log into ctclink to view your financial aid status and to review documents that are required.  You will also receive an email to notify you when documents are required. 

  • Items listed under "Information We Need From You" must be submitted before your financial aid will be determined.  Use the link in the portal to access required forms.

  • Financial aid awarded to you will be listed under "My Awards".

3. Set up your refund preference

  • BTC delivers your refund with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc.. Visit this link for more information https://bankmobiledisbursements.com/how-it-works.

  • To receive a refund in a timely manner, you must select your refund preference using the information mailed to you.

  • Your refund can be used for educational expenses such as books, supplies, housing, food and transportation. Contact the Student Financial Resources office if you did not receive refund information by mail.

4. Maintain your eligibility

  • Financial aid is generally awarded based on full-time enrollment level (12+ credits).  If you plan to enroll for fewer than 12 credits, notify our office by submitting an email to finaid@btc.edu.  Adjustments are made through the 10th day of each quarter.

  • Your academic progress is monitored quarterly.  To remain eligible for financial aid, you must meet the requirements outlined in the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

  • If you decide to withdraw from one or more credits, you may owe a repayment of some or all of the financial aid you received.

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SFR Quarterly Priority Deadlines

Students who meet the dates below will receive priority consideration for financial aid. Some types of funding are limited and are only awarded to students who apply early. Students who meet these dates will also be notified of their eligibility before the start of the quarter.



Self-Service Enroll Begin

Term Begin

Term End





FALL 2023



















May 1

June 1

October 1

February 1

Enrollment level change

(for students enrolling < 12 cr.)

June 1

July 1

November 1

March 1

Submit Verification documents

June 1

July 1

November 1

March 1

Independency and Special Circumstances petitions

June 1

July 1

November 1

March 1

SAP petition





BFET onboarding

June 30

September 15

December 29

March 29

BFET funding request

July 13

September 28

January 11

April 11

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Financial Aid Basics

Eligibility & how need is determined

After receiving your application for financial aid, we determine the types of funding and amounts for which you qualify. We use the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), income, assets and family size to determine eligibility. Need-based financial aid, such as grants, is provided to students from low- to middle-income households. Some types of grants are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Non-need-based financial aid, such as certain types of loans and scholarships, may be available to students who apply.


Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family’s financial strength. The EFC is calculated using a federal formula that considers the income, assets, benefits and tax liability, and family size as reported on your FAFSA or WASFA form. Students with a smaller EFC may qualify for more need-based financial aid whereas a large EFC may indicate that a student is only eligible for non-need-based aid. The EFC is not the amount you will need to pay to attend college.


Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the amount of money you may need to attend BTC for a period of time. The COA includes direct school expenses as well as an allowance for basic living expenses. The COA can vary depending on your program and other factors. You are encouraged to review your own expenses to determine if there are ways you reduce expenses or if there are expenses not included. Students may contact the Student Financial Resources office if they would like to discuss their need for adjustments to their COA.


2022-2023 Cost of Attendance

Example for a WA Resident attending full-time (12+ credits) for three quarters.

Direct expenses

Tuition & Fees


Books & supplies





Indirect expenses

Living expenses (housing & food)









Calculate whether you have enough financial aid

Most BTC students utilize a combination of financial aid and other sources of income to cover their expenses. This is a valuable strategy to limit the amount of debt from borrowing loans. After receiving your offer of financial aid, carefully review the amounts listed and compare it to your expenses to assess your financial circumstances. Use this Budget Worksheet to help.

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Financial Aid Programs

Learn more about a variety of ways to finance college through grants, scholarships, and FAFSA by activating your free ionTuition account!

Federal Pell Grant

Pell Grants are awarded to help with educational expenses. Like all grants, Pell Grants do not have to be repaid.

Federal SEOG Grant

The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is awarded to high-need, Pell Grant-eligible students who apply early, as funds are limited. It does not have to be repaid.

Federal Fresh Start Initiative

Students in default with their Federal Student Loan may qualify for the Fresh Start Initiative.

Washington College Grant

Available for Washington residents only, eligibility for this grant is determined by FAFSA or WASFA information and is adjusted for less than full-time enrollment. It will not exceed tuition and fees for each quarter, and does not have to be repaid.


Scholarships are provided by Bellingham Technical College Foundation, and other organizations and donors, based on certain criteria.

Work Study

Washington residents who are enrolled at least half time can pay for education-related expenses through the Work Study program. On-campus, part-time positions are available through the Student Financial Resources office finaid@btc.edu. Call 360.752.8351 for details.

Student Loans

Money students may borrow to finance their education. Loans accrue interest and must be paid back. Students begin to pay back their loans after graduation or after reducing their enrollment to fewer than six credits. There are flexible repayment options available.

Emergency Funding

The Bellingham Technical College (BTC) Emergency Funding program provides financial assistance to students who experience financial difficulties that impact their ability to continue their education.

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Scholarships are another source of free money to help pay for school. They are provided by Bellingham Technical College Foundation, and other organizations and donors, based on certain criteria. The BTC Foundation receives donations from generous individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout the year to give as scholarships just for BTC students.

Beware of Scholarship Scams

Did you know that every year, hundreds of thousands of students and parents lose hundreds of millions of dollars to scholarship scam sites?

  • Scam sites use official-sounding names like "Federal", "National", and "Administration" to sound legitimate.

  • Be wary of scholarships that ask you to pay an application fee. Legitimate scholarship foundations do not charge application fees.

  • Beware of any scholarship service that "guarantees" success. No one can guarantee you’ll win a scholarship.

  • Avoid sales pitches disguised as financial aid seminars.

  • Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! 

  • Learn more about scholarship scams and how to protect yourself.

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Forms & Resources

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Consumer Information

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Hours & Contacts

Regular Hours

Mon to Thu: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Friday

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