Explore Financial Aid

The Student Financial Resources office will be closed June 10-21. During this closure, staff will be preparing financial aid offers for students enrolled in the upcoming 2024-2025 school year.
We will be available to assist you when we re-open on Monday, June 24.

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:

As of June 07, 2024, we are determining eligibility for students who have submitted all required 2023-2024 documents and enrolled in Spring quarter classes.

We are currently waiting for additional information from the Department of Education and Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges before we can begin to process 2024-2025 FAFSA applications. This is currently expected to begin in June. Summer aid applicants enrolled in summer classes will be prioritized. Ensure you enroll once registration opens.

Further updates will be posted here when available. 

Check your FAFSA status at studentaid.gov

Delays in processing from Department of Education may affect our review of your eligibility. It is important to file your FAFSA, check back regularly on its status, and make any required corrections.

Check your FAFSA Submission Summary to see if there are any messages and respond accordingly. Ensure your FAFSA is signed by all contributors and that you have a Student Aid Index (SAI) noted on your FAFSA Submission Summary.  

Jump to back to Sections List

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.


Jump to back to Sections List

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 2023 through Spring 2024, complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA or WASFA, available October 1, 2022.
If you plan to attend Summer 2024 through Spring 2025, complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA or WASFA, which is available now.

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.

Jump to back to Sections List


Need help understanding FAFSA and WASFA? See videos, FAQs, helpful links and more at BTC's FAFSA/WASFA Resources page.

Jump to back to Sections List

SFR Quarterly Priority Deadlines

Students who meet the general dates below and are enrolled 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. 

Please see BTC's Calendar for quarterly specific dates and information.  

  • Summer Quarter Dates

    Submit FAFSA/WASFA - May 1

    Enrollment level change (for students enrolling < 12 cr.) - June 1

    Submit Verification documents - June 1

    Independency and Special Circumstances petitions - June 1

    Satisfactory Academic Progress petition - ASAP

    BFET onboarding - June 10

    BFET funding request - July 12

  • Fall Quarter Dates

    Submit FAFSA/WASFA - June 1

    Enrollment level change (for students enrolling < 12 cr.) - July 1

    Submit Verification documents - July 1

    Independency and Special Circumstances petitions - July 1

    Satisfactory Academic Progress petition - ASAP

    BFET onboarding - August 26

    BFET funding request - October 4

  • Winter Quarter Dates

    Submit FAFSA/WASFA - October 1

    Enrollment level change (for students enrolling < 12 cr.) - November 1

    Submit Verification documents - November 1

    Independency and Special Circumstances petitions - November 1

    Satisfactory Academic Progress petition - ASAP

    BFET onboarding - December 15

    BFET funding request - January 17

  • Spring Quarter Dates

    Submit FAFSA/WASFA - February 1

    Enrollment level change (for students enrolling < 12 cr.) - March 1

    Submit Verification documents - March 1

    Independency and Special Circumstances petitions - March 1

    Satisfactory Academic Progress petition - ASAP

    BFET onboarding - March 11

    BFET funding request - April 18

Jump to back to Sections List

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 Student Aid Index (SAI), 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.


Student Aid Index (SAI)

Your Student Aid Index (SAI) is an index number used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA). Your SAI is calculated according to a formula established by law and considers your family’s federal tax information (FTI) that is retrieved directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Your SAI is used to determine the types and amount of financial aid you qualify for.


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.


2024-2025 Cost of Attendance

Example for a WA Resident attending full-time (15+ credits) for three quarters.

Direct expenses

Tuition & Fees


Books & supplies





Indirect expenses

Living expenses (food & housing)







$28, 584


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.

Jump to back to Sections List

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

Students who are legally able to work in the US and 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.  Visit our Work Study page or call 360-752-8351 for more 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.

Jump to back to Sections List


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.

Jump to back to Sections List

Forms & Resources

Jump to back to Sections List

Consumer Information

Jump to back to Sections List

Hours & Contacts

Regular Hours

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

Adjusted Hours Closed June 10 - 21 for processing

Jump to back to Sections List