The cost for attaining a postsecondary certificate, credential, two- or four-year degree is increasingly out of reach for many students.  At the same time, the need for a post high school education is critical in order to meet our state’s current and projected skill and educated workforce demands.  Without a postsecondary education, it is impossible to participate in today’s economy, support a family, or enjoy the benefits of contributing to a community.  

Access to a postsecondary education is directly related to affordability. Thankfully, we have the State Need Grant program to address this issue for eligible low income students.  The State Need Grant is the state’s largest aid program, and its reach extends from traditional students to working-age adults.  

My name is Patricia J. Gitchel, I am attending Centralia College and I am a recipient of the State Need Grant. I feel very privileged to be able to receive the State Need Grant.  The grant helps me cover the costs of tuition, books and related expenses. 

The State Need Grant provides me with an opportunity to attain a degree and move forward with my career goals.  Through the support I receive from the grant, Centralia College, and TRIO, I am on a path to success.   It is difficult to balance school and work obligations. The support I receive from the State Need Grant allows me to focus on my studies, attain a degree, all the while providing greater stability in my life.

The State Need Grant provides the lifeline I need to complete my degree, and give back to the state the investment made in my education.  I am one of the lucky ones to receive support from the State Need Grant, many others are not so lucky. 

Not all eligible students receive the State Need Grant. These students are incurring debt, holding down part- and full-time jobs, and working hard to balance family, work, and school demands.   Without support from the State Need Grant, many will likely drop out, including myself, leaving school with debt. Worse yet, some will make the choice to not attend college, attain a degree, and thus have little opportunity to actively engage in the economy.

Continued support for the State Need Grant will increase access and address affordability.   It is critical to improving educational attainment in Washington, while serving first time students, as well as working-age adults. I know, I am one of them, and one who is grateful for the support I receive from the state and Centralia College.   


Patricia Gitchel 


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