A promise to Shawnee County high school graduates

Washburn University is making a promise to residents and students of Shawnee County. The Shawnee County Promise ensures that full-time eligible students who graduated from a high school or home school in Shawnee County can receive a tuition-free college education from Washburn. Applying is simple. All you need to do is complete an admission application and have a valid FAFSA with all required documents on file at Washburn by the priority date:

  • Fall 2024 priority date: May 1, 2024 
  • Spring 2025 priority date: October 1, 2024 (If you have not submitted the FAFSA by this date and still need help, please contact our Financial Aid office at financialaid@washburn.edu).

A pie chart showing Washburn Thrives is made by 45% grants, 37% scholarships and 18% Shawnee County Promise.Grants 38%Scholarships 45%Shawnee County Promise 17%

A part of Together We Thrive

The Shawnee County Promise is part of a financial aid package called Together We Thrive. Together with merit scholarships, the Washburn Shawnee County Thrives Scholarship and other financial awards, the Promise creates a tuition-free path while earning your bachelor's degree at Washburn.

The Shawnee County Promise can be received up to four consecutive years or until you complete your first bachelor's degree, whichever comes first for students at Washburn University, covering the cost of 30 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters.

You qualify if:

You graduated in Shawnee County

You have been a resident of Shawnee County for at least two years, attended junior and senior year at a Shawnee County high school or home school and graduated from a Shawnee County high school or home school. You must also be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S.

Your GPA is a 2.0 or higher

You graduate with at least at 2.0 GPA on your high school transcript.

You’re financially eligible

If you are either Pell Grant Eligible OR demonstrate a household income of $75,000 or less AND have less than $75,000 in assets on your FAFSA.

Shawnee County high schools

You are eligible if you graduated from one of the following schools in Shawnee County:

  • Avondale Academy
  • Cair Paravel
  • Capital City
  • Hayden
  • Heritage Christian
  • Highland Park
  • Home School
  • Hope Street
  • Rossville
  • Seaman
  • Silver Lake
  • Shawnee Heights
  • Topeka High
  • Topeka West
  • Washburn Rural

If you are a resident of Shawnee County but did not attend one of the schools listed above, you may still be eligible for a tuition-free education through the Northeast Kansas Advantage.

Renewal criteria

This renewable program pays the cost of tuition for up to 15 credit hours per semester at Washburn, up to 30 credit hours. To renew, you must complete the following criteria:

  • Successfully complete at least 27 credit hours at Washburn during the school year
  • Maintain a cumulative 2.0 or higher Washburn GPA
  • Complete the FAFSA every school year by the priority date and remain financially eligible

Additional Information

    1. Can this be applied to other school expenses besides tuition such as housing, books, etc.?
      1. The Shawnee County Promise is a tuition only, last dollar scholarship. This means that all other scholarships, grants, waivers, third party payments, or other outside scholarships will be applied towards tuition first. The Shawnee County Promise can not be applied to non-tuition charges.
    2. Do I qualify if I have other funding that covers my tuition?
      1. The Shawnee County Promise is a last dollar scholarship for tuition only up to 15 credit hours for each Fall and Spring semester. If your tuition is covered by other scholarships, grants, waivers, third party payments, or other outside scholarships, then you would not be eligible.
    3. Can the Shawnee County Promise Scholarship be used in the Summer semester?
      1. The Shawnee County Promise Scholarship can only be applied during the Fall and Spring semesters at Washburn University.
    4. Am I eligible to receive the Shawnee County Promise Scholarship if I am a transfer student?
      1. Yes, so long as you meet the eligibility criteria in addition to having a 2.0 college GPA.
    5. Will I qualify if I have already received a bachelor's degree or beyond?
      1. This scholarship is for students pursuing their first bachelor's degree. Students that have already received the equivalent of a bachelor's degree or beyond will not qualify for the scholarship.
    6. Do I have to maintain full-time status in the fall and spring semesters?
      1. Yes, you will need to maintain enrollment in at least 12 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester to receive the scholarship. Please contact the Financial Aid Office before dropping below 12 hours.
    7. Why has my Shawnee County Promise amount changed?
      1. The Shawnee County Promise is a last dollar, tuition only scholarship. If other forms of financial aid mentioned above are received the Shawnee County Promise scholarship may be reduced or removed.
    8. Must I maintain continuous enrollment in order remain eligible?
      1. Yes, in addition to meeting all other eligibility requirements, you must remain enrolled full-time in each consecutive fall and spring semesters.
    9. Why is my Shawnee County Promise not showing on my account?
      1. You must meet all eligibility criteria. The Financial Aid Office will notify you if you are eligible or potentially eligible for the Shawnee County Promise.  Please note, this may take a few weeks to determine your eligibility. 
      2. If you meet all eligibility criteria but your tuition is covered by other forms of aid mentioned above in the FAQ, you will not receive the Shawnee County Promise.
    10. What if I completely withdraw?
      1. You must contact the Financial Aid Office to speak with a Financial Aid Advisor before completely withdrawing. See official withdrawal policy.
    11. What does successfully complete mean?
      1. Successfully complete means completing and passing the course. Receiving an F or withdrawing from a course will not count as renewal hours.
    12. Is there a maximum time frame that I can receive the Shawnee County Scholarship?
      1. If you continue to meet renewal criteria, you are eligible to receive the Shawnee County Scholarship for up to 8 consecutive semesters or until you receive your first bachelors degree.
    13. Do I need to provide my final high school transcript?
      1. The final high school transcript is required to demonstrate graduation from a Shawnee County high school.
    14. What if I do not have a final high school transcript?
      1. Acceptable alternative documentation includes the following: GED or Home School Transcript.
    15. What if I do not qualify for the Pell Grant?
      1. You will not qualify if you are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant because you have a Pell overpayment, have exhausted your Pell Grant lifetime eligibility, have already received a Bachelors degree or have other Federal student aid eligibility issues.
        • However, if the criteria above does not apply, you may still qualify if you meet the income requirements listed in the Eligibility section.
    16. What if my financial situation has changed?
      1. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to review your situation. Additional documentation may be required.
    17. What if my financial aid eligibility changes during the year?
      1. If your federal financial aid eligibility changes during the year, your eligibility for the Shawnee County Promise may change. The Financial Aid Office will notify you of any changes.
    18. Will the Washburn University Together We Thrive initiative expand beyond Shawnee County?
      1. Washburn University recently extended its Together We Thrive program to students throughout Northeast Kansas, and is committed to discovering partners who want to help expand the program to additional areas.
    19. Who should I contact with questions?
      1. Please email shawneecounty@washburn.edu with any questions.

This scholarship is just the beginning

You may also be eligible for other scholarships, including departmental scholarships.
Students walk in downtown north Topeka.

Why stay in Topeka?

There are so many reasons to stay in or return to Topeka for your education, from the excitement within the community and an active student life on campus to a strong job market and low cost of living off campus. Find out about all the opportunities you have to thrive in Topeka!


Washburn University Admissions
Morgan Hall Suite 100
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

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