You feel ready to think about what you want to do after high school. What options appeal to you?


Do you want to work right now?

You’ve thought about it a lot and going to school just isn’t appealing to you right now. You know of some friends who went straight into jobs and are thriving. Maybe you need to acquire certain skills and would be willing to spend some extra time learning, but would like to entire the workforce as soon as possible.

Here are some organizations that might be able to help.



Apprenticeships allow you to earn money while you learn a specific trade. These programs combine classroom style learning with on-the-job training supervised by a professional.

Some examples of different skills you can learn are construction, healthcare, or culinary arts. Similar to going to college, it will take several years to be fully trained. But unlike college, as an apprentice you will earn money while learning your specific skill. This type of education offers time with experienced professionals, higher pay for skilled trades, quick advancement opportunities and certificate opportunities.


Do you want to get training for a specific type of work?

You have a plan and an idea of what type of job you’re looking for.

Maybe you really see yourself working in a salon, in some kind of construction, or in a hospital setting, for example, but aren’t feeling a long term school commitment?

Exploring certification programs could be a great fit for where you are.



(CNA, EMT, Flagger, cosmetology, social media, etc.)

Schools that don’t require enrollment


Do you want to continue your education?

You want to continue your education but you have some lingering questions. You may know exactly what degree you want to pursue, or maybe you don’t. You might need to talk to someone about how financial aid works or what college would be the best fit for you. Depending on your needs, there are many different avenues to explore to help you get clear on your next academic adventure.

The cost of college is different at every school. Usually, community and technical colleges cost less, while four-year colleges or universities cost more. A public college located in a state where you live will likely be the cheapest option, because the college will provide a resident tuition rate that is cheaper than an out-of-state rate. If you want to go to a school outside of Washington, check out the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program where students can get in-state tuition in other states. Sometimes private colleges or universities can be a cheaper alternative than a public out-of-state school.



You don’t have to sign up for a full course load. You can just take classes on topics you’re interested in.
Associate degrees are foundational degrees that can help students achieve academic and professional goals in less time than it takes to earn bachelor’s degrees.
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A tweet from Gov. Inslee that said: A postsecondary credential is one of the best paths to solid financial footing. That’s why Washington established the most equitable financial aid program in the nation — the Washington College Grant.

All students who are planning to go to college use multiple sources of money. One of the largest resources of money is called Financial Aid. The term Financial Aid includes scholarships, grants, work study, and loans. The amount of money that you can get from financial aid depends on how much money you need to help pay for school. Some of your financial aid money awarded will go directly to the college (to pay for classes and class fees) while some will pay for other bills such as rent, food, and transportation. To get the most or any amount of financial aid you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA)every year starting on October 1st of your junior year of high school until you graduate from college. If you are currently experiencing housing instability — check out some tips on filling out the FAFSA/WASFA.
  • When you complete the FAFSA/WASFA, you will be asked whether you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and “unaccompanied” (meaning not with your parents). Answer the question and continue with the application.
  • Look for the question: “On or after X date, were you homeless or were you self-supporting or at risk of becoming homeless?” When you answer “yes” to this question, more questions will open asking you to answer yes/or who or what agency determined your homeless status. Depending on the person or agency you choose, another set of questions will open and ask for the number of people in your household to determine independent status. By answering these questions, you will be able to submit the FAFSA/WASFA without providing information about your parents because you are stating that you are not with your parents.
  • Provide a mailing address where you can reliably receive mail. If you don’t have one, check with your McKinney-Vento Liason for options.
  • Every year you will be required to provide a verification letter to the Financial Aid office of your housing status. This letter can be completed by the school district homeless liaison, the Director of HUD/RHYA transitional/shelter, or your McKinney-Vento liaison or counselor. Make sure to receive verification of your status before leaving school your senior year. Any of these people can help you stay verified annually.
  • Call the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) helpline at (800) 308-2145.
The third option available to help pay for college is through work study. Work study allows a student to work on-campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay for college expenses.

Life can be unpredictable and because of that you may have to figure out how to pay for unexpected needs. Colleges understand unexpected needs, so many of them offer different types of emergency aid to support students. Check with your financial aid office to see if they offer emergency funding. Emergency funding is provided to students who are experiencing unexpected financial hardships that block them from being successful at school and hinder degree attainment.

Aid comes in a variety of forms that include grants, loans and/or campus resources.

What if I need money in an emergency?

    • Examples of what emergency aid can be used for are:
      • Emergency medical/ dental costs
      • Housing and living expenses
      • Family emergencies

This will not be an easy process, but if you advocate for yourself and stay connected to your support network, getting an education beyond high school can be a reality for you.

While not all two-year community or technical colleges offer on-campus living options, some of the colleges in this state do offer shared apartments and residence halls. For a list of two-year community and technical colleges that offer housing visit:

Washington Information Network (211) A resource for people to call for human service information and other assistance to meet their transitional housing needs.

The resources listed are only a small sample of the resources on a college campus. These offices were recommended and regularly used by actual college students experiencing homelessness.

Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET)

Provides support to individuals receiving federal food assistance from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS):

  • Find out if you qualify for BFET by visiting:
      • Funding to pay for tuition, fees, and required textbooks when pursuing approved professional-technical training. 
      • Coordination with DSHS in the provision of childcare.
      • Educational advising and planning, including the development of an education plan that lists the courses required each quarter to obtain the training goal in the most efficient manner.
      • Advising to address barriers to academic/personal success.
      • Employment assistance.
      • Assistance in navigating college resources and services.

Disability Resource Office

An on-campus office committed to supporting and sustaining an inclusive campus and help students grow to be confident, self-advocating, engaged members of society, who use their unique talents to enrich the communities they live in. This office can support you by offering course readings in alternative formats, advocating for academic adjustments for students, or even negotiating extra time on tests.

TRiO Program Resources or Student Support Services

These programs provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education.

  • Supports may include:
      • Academic tutoring
      • Assistance with financial aid applications and issues
      • Mentoring
      • Education and counseling services designed to help with financial literacy

Financial Aid Office

  • This resource on campus helps students and families understand financial aid and helps fund educational expenses through grants, scholarships, student employment, loans, or a combination of different types of financial aid. Staff members are regularly available during office hours to respond to questions you might have about paying for college.