Ability to Benefit (ATB)

Get help to pay for college without a high school diploma.

If you don’t have a high school diploma or GED, there may be a way for you to get financial aid to help pay for college through ATB.

What is the Ability to Benefit?

ATB is a program that allows students without a high school diploma, GED, or home school diploma to qualify for financial aid, “if they can prove they have the ability to benefit from a college education.” Getting financial aid through ATB can help pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies and other educational expenses for college-level courses.

Who is eligible for Ability to Benefit?

A student may be eligible if they:

  • Do not have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Plan on participating in an eligible career pathway program.
You have two options to prove you have the ability to benefit from:

Option One:

Passing an independently administered Department of Education-approved ATB test.

*See policies and procedures for additional details.

Option Two:

Students must have completed six college-level credits or 225 clock hours that are eligible for a Title IV-eligible degree offered by the postsecondary institution. Remedial and developmental coursework does not count towards this requirement. The course work must demonstrate that the student has the ability to benefit from the postsecondary program in which they are enrolled or intends to enroll. The course(s) do not need to be applied to the specific degree or program in which they are enrolled.

*See policies and procedures for additional details.

Option 3:

Completing a state process approved by the Secretary of Education.

The Washington State Ability to Benefit Option 3: Co-enrollment Option 

The approved Washington State Option 3 for Ability to Benefit gives students access through co-enrollment in a High School+ (HS+) and I-BEST Title IV eligible career pathways.

The requirements of this process are as follows:

  • Students must qualify for federally-supported levels of basic skills education.
  • Students must meet all entrance requirements to enroll in I-BEST per program entrance requirements.
  • Students and programs must continue to meet all other ATB eligibility requirements.

*See policies and procedures for additional details.

Fill out the FAFSA or WASFA

Visit Financial Aid – Start to Finish homepage for step-by-step instructions. If you have not completed the current year’s FAFSA, visit studentaid.gov, or for the WASFA (for undocumented students), go to visit wsac.wa.gov/wasfa.

If you have any questions contact financial aid at financialaid@batestech.edu or call 253.680.7020.