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Lenora St. Blog

Exploring FAFSA and Financial Aid at Cornish

A new school year has begun, rainy weather should be just around the corner, and Halloween decorations are already making appearances. These all mark the telltale signs of fall, but also an important time for all current and prospective students alike—it’s FAFSA season!

What is FAFSA? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is supported by the Department of Education and it’s the largest provider of financial aid in the country. Through this application, students can receive funding for their education through grants, work study opportunities, and loans. 

Are you a first time FAFSA applicant? We’ll walk you through some of the steps, and point you to the application. In addition to federal student aid, undergraduate students will also find a variety of both merit-based and need-based aid options when they apply at Cornish. 

Getting Started: The Financial Aid Process

A graphic the reads "Fill out the 2023-24 FAFSA Form Today!"
Photo: Federal Student Aid.

The FAFSA form officially launches on Oct. 1. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15, though it’s recommended to file as early as possible. While financial aid and scholarships are available to all who apply and qualify and may continue to be awarded throughout the winter and spring, some funds are distributed on a first-come first-serve basis.

Students can complete the FAFSA at studentaid.gov using Cornish College of the Arts school code 012315. Students who are U.S. citizens/eligible non-citizens only need to complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study Program, Federal Student Loans, Parent PLUS Loans, and more. 

For students awarded funding through the Federal Work Study Program, Cornish offers a variety of opportunities that can be found on the Cornish Work Study Job Board. Directions on how to apply are located in each job listing. Work Study jobs are handled much in the same way as other jobs, you still have to apply and interview to be considered for a position. Most Work Study jobs can use either State or Federal Work Study funds, but it will be noted on the job listing. Learn more about work study opportunities at Cornish through the Financial Aid Office

Financial Aid Opportunities in Washington

For students with in-state residency, or those looking to attend college in Washington, there are a variety of grants, scholarships, and loans available: 

  • Formerly called the State Need Grant, the Washington College Grant (WCG) helps low-income undergraduate students from the state of Washington pursue degrees, hone skills, or retrain for new careers. These grants are awarded based on income and financial need and continued academic progress.  
  • For eligible Washington State residents, the College Bound Scholarship program is an early commitment of state financial aid to eligible students who sign up in middle school and fulfill the scholarship pledge.
  • Passport to College: For eligible Washington State residents, this program helps former foster youth and unaccompanied homeless youth prepare for and succeed in college, apprenticeships, or pre-apprenticeship programs. Funds can be used for tuition, fees, books, housing, transportation, and some personal expenses. 
  • The Washington Bridge Grant is a one time grant of $500 offered to full Washington College Grant recipients that do not qualify for College Bound Scholarship and register for 3 or more credits. This grant is currently only for the 2022-2023 aid year.
  • Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA), supported by the State of Washington, is available to undocuments students living in Washington state, students without a social security number, and those who don’t qualify for federal financial aid due to immigration status. Similar to the FAFSA, WASFA will notify applicants of their eligibility for state grants or work study opportunities.

Financial Assistance at Cornish

An urban area.Admitted students are automatically considered for Cornish’s scholarship opportunities with no extra steps to apply. Each year, Cornish awards over $3.5 million in scholarships to students pursuing a bachelor’s degree—with 98% of admitted students receiving funding assistance. Both U.S. citizens and international students are eligible for Cornish scholarships.

Merit scholarships at Cornish are based upon your application, including an audition or portfolio review. Prospective students who are admitted to Cornish will receive notification if they have been awarded a Cornish merit scholarship via their offer letters. The Merit Scholarship will automatically renew with a 2% increase every year, for a maximum of four years, as long as the student is registered for full time status and meeting SAP requirements. 

Unlike many schools, Cornish will not reduce the amount of any merit scholarship a student receives if the student also receives scholarships from other organizations. Cornish welcomes and encourages students to apply outside scholarships toward their tuition and housing costs. The Office of Financial Aid maintains a scholarship database that is available through Compass. Check the “Financial Aid” tab in the top menu and navigate to “Resources” on the left-hand menu to find the database. 

We also recommend Fastweb.com or TheWashBoard.org. TheWashBoard.org is specifically for scholarships tailored towards Washington residents and students. Also, Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search gives you access to more than 5 million college scholarships. Students can search for college scholarships that match their skills, activities, and interests based on their profile.

In addition to scholarships and work study opportunities, Cornish also offers flexible payment plans for families who wish to pay monthly throughout the academic year, rather than all at once at the beginning of each semester. Contact the Office of Student Accounts to discuss options for a payment plan that is right for your family.

Visit the Cornish Financial Aid Office to learn more.

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