Opportunity Scholar posing for a photo
Gray, Opportunity Scholar

Career & Technical Scholarship

Did you just apply for the Career & Technical Scholarship (CTS)? All selected applicants will be notified of their acceptance by email in late November.  

Forget to apply? The next Career & Technical Scholarship application will open on January 4, 2024! 

Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) 101 

We believe every Washingtonian deserves access to a job that can pay for their needs. Access to these jobs start with a  great education.  

Completing a degree can feel overwhelming or impossible because of barriers like cost.  

WSOS has helped over 8,000 students graduate into high-demand careers in Washington state. Most Scholars are first-generation students, women, or students of color. Opportunity Scholars graduate faster, take on less debt, and earn a higher average salary than their peers. 

WSOS supports every Opportunity Scholar as they navigate college from start to finish. Career training and mentorship are part of the Scholar experience because we are committed to helping Scholars land their first great job.  

You belong here. Become an Opportunity Scholar.  

The WSOS team will support  you from application to credential to career. 


  • Receive flexible money  that can be stacked with other aid like the Washington College Grant to cover costs beyond tuition such as food, housing or transportation.   
  • Learn the skills needed to find a job.  
  • Find mentors, build a community, develop a network and launch a career.  

Career & Technical Scholarship (CTS) 101 

Opportunity Scholar smiling and laughing for a photo
Tabetha, Opportunity Scholar

CTS provides up to $1,500 per quarter for apprenticeship, certificate, or associate degree programs in STEM, health care, and the trades. WSOS can cover costs beyond tuition, such as housing, transportation, food, and more. There are over 1,000 eligible programs at all 34 of the state’s community and technical colleges.  

Interested in a bachelor’s degree instead? Check out the Baccalaureate Scholarship. 

Rural Jobs Initiative (RJI) 101

The Rural Jobs Initiative (RJI) of CTS  was created to address the unique barriers facing rural community and technical college students.  

This program makes it easier for those farthest from the community and technical college campuses to earn a credential that will help them get a high-demand job in their rural community. 

RJI recipients receive up to $3,500 in their first quarter, up to $2,500 in their second quarter, and up to $2,000  per quarter until they graduate or until they have received 15 terms of state financial aid.  

Rural applicants who qualify will be considered automatically for RJI funding. No additional application is required.  


The CTS application opens three times per year. Select the quarter that aligns with your ideal program start date.

MilestoneWinter QuarterSpring QuarterFall Quarter
Application opensSeptember 20, 2023January 4, 2024March 5, 2024
Application deadlineOctober 24, 2023February 5, 2024April 16, 2024
FAFSA/WASFA processedOctober 24, 2023February 5, 2024April 16, 2024
Selection notificationNovember 2023March 2024May 2024

Is the Career & Technical Scholarship (CTS) right for you?  

If you’re interested in  an associate degree, certificate, or apprenticeship from a community or technical college, or approved apprenticeship sponsor, then CTS  is right for you.  

If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree immediately after your associates degree, then you should apply for the Baccalaureate Scholarship (BaS). BaS supports students earning their bachelor’s degree, so if you apply to CTS instead of BaS, we won’t be able to support your entire journey.  

How to apply 

First, are you eligible?

Second, before the application deadline, you must: 

  1. Complete the application. 
  2. Submit the FAFSA or WAFSA   

Watch the video below to learn more about how to apply for the scholarship.

Please note that this video was recorded in 2023, so it might look a little different than the current application.

Application Tips: 

  • Use this guide for tips on preparing the short answer section. We aren’t scoring for grammar or writing ability! We want to learn about you and your story. 
  • There is no “submit” button. Once you fill out every part of the application, you will get a confirmation email. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away. 
  • The application will take about 60 to 90 minutes to complete.  
  • You can start the application, save progress, and return to complete it later up until the application deadline.  

Eligibility Requirements 


  • You must be a Washington resident. In most cases, a Washington resident lives in the state for one year immediately before starting college or a program. WSOS accepts undocumented applicants. Questions? Email info@waopportunityscholarship.org

Financial need: 

  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) by the application deadline. 
  • If eligible, apply for Federal Education Tax Credits. WSOS can’t verify eligibility for this tax credit, so applicants must verify this on their own. If your family doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements for the tax credits, you don’t need to apply.
  • Have a family income (adjusted gross income plus all untaxed income) that does not exceed 125% of Washington state median family income based on family size. 
    • When viewing the family income limits, applicants should use the income reported on their family tax returns and the FAFSA/WASFA.  
    • Dependent students will report their total family income reported by their parent(s)/guardian(s), while independent students will report their own total family income. 

Education plan: 

Previous education: 

  • Do not have a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Earned a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate. The diploma or high school equivalency doesn’t have to be from a Washington state institution. 
  • By the application date, applicants must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale), demonstrated on either a current college or high school transcript; OR 
    • A minimum average GED score of 45 (1988 series), 450 (2002 series), or 145 (2014 series).

Rural Jobs Initiative (RJI): Specific eligibility criteria 

What if I am not eligible for RJI? That’s okay! You do not need to be eligible for RJI to receive the Career & Technical Scholarship. RJI supports a  small selection of students within the Career & Technical Scholarship program.  

To be eligible for RJI , you must have one of the following: 

  1. Be a rural county resident. That means you live in any Washington county EXCEPT King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Thurston, Clark, Benton, and Spokane;  


  1. Be a high school graduate from a school district with fewer than 2,000 students AND be enrolled at one of Washington’s community and technical colleges that is located in a rural county: 
    • Bellingham Technical College, Big Bend Community College, Centralia College, Columbia Basin College, Grays Harbor College, Lower Columbia College, Olympic College (Shelton campus only), Peninsula College, Skagit Valley College, Spokane Community College (Colville, Inchelium, Ione, Newport, and Republic campuses only), Walla Walla Community College, Wenatchee Valley College, Whatcom Community College, and Yakima Valley College. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How will I be told if I got the scholarship or not?  

Check your email! Recipients will hear from us via email, asked to accept the scholarship and complete an online orientation. Make sure to type your email accurately and add info@waopportunityscholarship.org to your list of trusted senders. 

You can reapply if you aren’t selected but continue to meet the eligibility criteria! 

How are recipients selected?  

The WSOS Board of Directors determines how we select recipients using a criteria that includes factors such as a student’s financial need, their likelihood to persist, and academic achievement.  

What support will I receive as a recipient? 

Opportunity Scholars receive exclusive resources on top of their scholarship, including connections, advice, networks, and mentorship. Learn more about the support we provide on our current Scholars page.   

When should I complete my FAFSA/WASFA application? 

  • We highly encourage you to complete the FAFSA/WASFA application before the deadline since it can take a few days for your FAFSA/WASFA application to be processed. However, the deadline to complete your FAFSA/WASFA is the same day the Career & Technical Scholarship application closes. 
  • If you plan to submit your FAFSA/WASFA application by mail, send it at least a few weeks before the deadline to factor in additional processing time. 

Still have questions? We’re here to help. Email us at info@waopportunityscholarship.org.