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For many college-bound students, the process of seeking out grants, scholarships and financial aid doesn’t start until their senior year in high school (see Credible’s “Financial Aid Prep” timeline for a month-by-month breakdown of milestones in the process).

In Washington, low-income middle school students who dream of attending college have until June 30 of their 8th grade year to apply for a state-sponsored College Bound Scholarship program that helped 19,000 students attend college last year.

What’s the point of requiring kids to sign up for a college scholarship when they’ve still got four years of high school in front of them? To inspire students who otherwise might rule out college as beyond their means to prepare for it instead.

Students who apply pledge to graduate from a Washington high school with at least a 2.0 grade point average, not be convicted of a felony, and apply to an eligible college and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their income eligibility.

Those who graduate from high school and enroll in college within one year can count on the state covering their tuition and some of their fees, along with a small book allowance.

In 2015, 75 percent of students enrolled in the College Bound program graduated from high school, compared to 62 percent of low-income students who were eligible for the program, but failed to apply, the Washington Student Achievement Council reports. It’s the fourth year in a row the program has racked up those kinds of numbers.

The $61.5 million lawmakers set aside for the program in the latest two-year funding cycle lets students seek certificates or degrees at public community and technical colleges, public four-year colleges and universities, independent colleges and universities, and private career colleges. About 56 percent of College Bound recipients attend Washington public and private four-year institutions, and 43 percent go to two-year colleges, WSAC says.

Word about the program has spread. More than nine out of 10 eligible eigth graders signed up last year, and 77 school districts signed up 100 percent of eligible students, according to WSAC.

The need for such programs is clear. Last year researchers with the American Council on Education noted that low-income students were much less likely to enroll in college immediately after high school than they were seven years ago, and that the percentage of low-income students attending college was up only 3 percent from 20 years ago.

LenderRates from (APR)Loan Term (years) 
citizens

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Fixed: 5.25%+¹
Variable: 4.26%+¹
5, 10, 15¹Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate, graduate, and parent loans
• Fixed and variable interest rates

Loan amounts
• $1,000 up to $170,000

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution
• International students can apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer
collegeave

College Ave -
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Fixed: 5.29%+2
Variable: 3.94%+2
8, 10, 12, 153Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Fixed and variable interest rates

Loan amounts
• $2,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance

Eligibility
• Available to all US residents that attended an eligible undergraduate or graduate school
• Students with little or no credit history will benefit from having a creditworthy co-signer
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discover

Discover -
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Fixed: 6.34%+
Variable: 4.34%+
15, 20Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Fixed and variable rates

Loan amounts
• Up to 100% of your school-certified tuition, housing, books and more, up to aggregate loan limits

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution
• Must be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school

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edvestinu

EDvestinU -
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Fixed: 4.50%+
Variable: 4.31%+
7, 10, 12, 15, 20Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Fixed and variable rates

Loan amounts
• Minimum loan amount of $1,000 and maximum aggregate of $200,000

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Student must be admitted to or enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution when applying
• Borrower must have an annual income of at least $30,000 or cosigner

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ihelp

iHelp -
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Variable: 4.63%+20Get Rates
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• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Variable rates only

Loan amounts
• Undergraduates: $1,000 ($3,000 for Georgia residents) up to $100,000
• Graduates: $1,000 ($3,000 for Georgia residents) up to $150,000

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Borrower or cosigner must have at least 3 years of positive credit history and annual income of $18,000 or greater
• Must be enrolled at least half time in an iHELP eligible school
invested

INvested -
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Fixed: 6.42%+
Variable: 3.47%+
5, 10, 15Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Fixed and variable rates

Loan amounts
• $1,001 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance

Eligibility
• Only available to Indiana residents or U.S. residents attending an eligible Indiana school
raise

Raise -
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Variable: 6.08%+5, 7, 10Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Variable rates only

Eligibility
• The raise^ private student loan program is available only to students with a permanent residence in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington or West Virginia and cosigners in any state except Wisconsin
• Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Must be earning income (or apply with a cosigner who is)
• Available to students enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution


Sallie Mae -
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Fixed: 5.74%+4
Variable: 4.37%+4
5-155Get Rates
Loan products
• Undergraduate and graduate loans
• Fixed and Variable interest rates

Eligibility
• Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; non-U.S. citizen students, including DACA students attending a school located in the U.S., are eligible to apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident with required U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) documentation;
• Available to students enrolled full-time, half-time, and less than half-time
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