What is the Opportunity Grant?

The Opportunity Grant is a scholarship available to eligible students training for high-demand, high-wage careers at Whatcom. Priority is given to students working on their first degree/certificate, and first generation students (you are the first in your family to attend college).

Eligible students may receive funds to cover tuition and mandatory fees up to 45 credits or $4,400, and up to $1,000 per academic year for books and supplies.

Individual student support services are also an important part of this scholarship, and includes a single point of contact, career advising, academic tutoring help, emergency child care, emergency transportation and/or other academic and personal support services.


Eligibility Requirements

  1. Be a Washington State Resident
  2. Enrolled in or working towards admission into specific, approved program of study (see below)
  3. Have family income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty levels (income chart below)
  4. Have not earned a prior degree or certificate
  5. Have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA


Eligible programs:

  • Associate in Science Degree or Certificate - Accounting
  • Associate in Science Degree – Business Administration 
  • Certificate – Business Administration – Retail Management 
  • Associate in Science Degree - Computer Information Systems (CIS) 
  • Certificate - CIS – Network Administration 
  • Certificate - CIS – Technical Support 
  • Associate in Applied Science – Cybersecurity 
  • Associate in Arts Degree or Certificate - Early Childhood Education
  • Associate in Science Degree – Finance
  • Associate in Science Degree or Certificate - Massage Practitioner
  • Associate in Science Degree or Certificate - Medical Assisting
  • Associate in Science Degree - Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Associate in Science Degree - Nursing

*Transfer degrees are not eligible for the Opportunity Grant


Income eligibility guidelines:

Your income must be no greater than the amounts listed in the 2015 HHS 200% poverty guidelines

Size of family unit

Monthly income cut-off Yearly income cut-off
1 $1,962 $23,540
2 $2,655
3 $3,348
4 $4,041
5 $4,735
6 $5,428
7 $6,122
8 $6,815
For each additional person, add:


Scholarship guidelines

If you are accepted into the Opportunity Grant Scholarship program, you must meet these guidelines in order to maintain your scholarship eligibility:

  • Be in good academic standing with the college's Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines and maintain a minimum quarterly and cumulative GPA of 2.0
  • Successfully complete all credits registered for every quarter
  • Maintain income eligibility every quarter and year in which you are receiving funding from the Opportunity Grant
  • Meet with the Opportunity Grant Coordinator several times throughout the quarter and prior to registering for classes
  • Consult with the Opportunity Grant Coordinator about any schedule changes (add/drop), academic or personal successes and difficulties, career exploration, academic planning, any other factors contributing to your success
  • Turn in a quarterly academic progress report signed by all instructors per request
  • Respond to e-mail and written correspondence from the Opportunity Grant staff
  • Inform Opportunity Grant staff of any biographic information changes (address, phone, e-mail etc.)


How to apply

There is no cut-off deadline for this scholarship. We accept applications on a continuous-basis, as funds are available. Students are usually considered for the following quarter in which they submit their application.

If you need help filling out the application or gathering the required documents, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Additional documents you must submit with your application

1. Household Income Verification: Students MUST be income eligible according to the poverty guidelines. You must provide proof of income eligibility with your application. Please submit all that apply to you:

  • Copy of last year’s taxes OR
  • Previous 2 months of pay stubs OR
  • Previous 2 months of unemployment checks AND
  • All untaxed income (DSHS, L&I, child support, social security, spousal support, settlements, etc.)
  • If you are under the age of 25, not married and/or do not have children please submit copies of your parent/guardian’s income as well.

2. Transcripts: Submit ALL copies of unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended, including transcripts from outside the U.S.

3. Reference Letter: Click here for the Reference Form that must be completed and submitted.

4. SmarterMeasure Assessment Copy: Students are required to take the "SmarterMeasure" assessment and provide a copy of their printed evaluation. This is an online self-assessment survey that measures your readiness for academic learning. It considers personal, environmental and external factors that affect your college readiness. Be prepared, as this assessment can take up to 30 minutes. Please reflect and answer questions honestly since this measure is to ultimately benefit you 

5. Make a Degree Plan: Please call Entry & Advising to schedule an appointment with advisors: Kelly Bashaw, Yusuke Okazaki or Elizabeth Scroggs. The purpose of this is to map out each quarter of what you will be taking to complete your degree/certificate requirements.

Appointments can be made by calling the front desk in Entry & Advising, Laidlaw Center 116, 360.383.3080.


Opportunity Grant Quarterly Newsletters


  • How do I submit my financial aid award?
  • Is there a deadline for this scholarship?
  • Do I have to apply for this every quarter?
  • I’ve had some personal and financial fluctuations recently. What if the numbers on my tax return don’t reflect my current circumstances?
  • I'm not eligible for financial aid because my parents make too much, but they don't financially support me and I don't live with them.
More »