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Free Information Session on Financial Assistance at Enumclaw GRCC Campus Oct. 17

Learn about what qualifications you might meet that will enable you to go to college for free.

A student who takes a full courseload at Green River Community College can expect to pay anywhere between $1,650 and $1,800 per quarter for tuition, books and other fees.

At minimum, that can translate to yearly costs up to $5,400 if they took 15 credits per quarter.

Numbers like that can be off-putting to those who are struggling financially but nonetheless want to pursue a college degree or certification at GRCC. Tamar Zere, the director of the college's workforce education department wants you to know if you meet certain qualifications, you can go to college for free.

Zere's department works year-round to provide financial assistance to students in various situations through four programs:

Basic Food Employment Training (BFET): A partnership between GRCC and the Department of Social Health Services (DSHS), BFET funds 100 percent of tuition, books, fees, and required supplies for adults who live in King, Pierce or Kitsap counties, receive food stamps, and who do not anticipate having their food stamp case closed prior to the start of the academic quarter.

Low Income Workers Opportunity Grant: This program funds tuition, fees, and up to $1,000 for books (for full time students attending 45 credits or more within the academic year) for low-income students in specific, state-approved career paths. Opportunity Grant is also available for undecided students who begin their studies in one of the approved paths.

Workfirst: This program funds 100 percent of tuition, books, and fees for TANF parents who are currently receiving a cash grant from the DSHS. To participate in the program, all parents must have approval from a DSHS caseworker.

Worker Retraining: This program funds tuition, fees, and books for dislocated layoffs and displaced homemakers.

All programs are open to students in King and Pierce counties, said Zere. The department does not support transfer degrees, however.

Last year, Zere's department spent $2.1 million serving the college's students. The department has been providing assistance for 15 years.

To learn more about whether you might qualify, visit www.greenriver.edu/academics/workforce-education.htm.

To learn more about the programs, there will be a free information session at the Enumclaw campus of GRCC on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information or to reserve your spot, call 253-288-3400 (in Enumclaw) or 360-829-2450 (in Buckley).

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