Financial Aid & Scholarships

At North Cascades Institute, we recognize the financial burden that our students take on in order to enroll in our graduate program. We have years of experience with helping graduate students navigate through the financial aid process at Western Washington University as well as other funding options. Please reach out to our Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any questions, and so that we can begin a dialogue on making this graduate experience affordable for you.


Students are eligible for educational loans through Western Washington University. Federal financial aid applications (FAFSA) and information is available from Financial Aid Department at Western Washington University, priority deadline is February 15. Be sure to mark work-study on the application if you are interested.


North Cascades Institute is proud to offer scholarships to support graduate students in the residency portion of the program. These scholarship awards are made possible by the generosity of our donors and were created to attract and reward strong applicants who:

  • document economic need,
  • have the potential to make unique or valuable contributions to the cohort and the larger community at the Environmental Learning Center,
  • and/or increase the diversity of our community of professionals.

 Scholarship amounts range from $500-$2,500, with the average individual scholarship amount of $1,000-$1,500 for applicants in the financial need, merit, skills, and/or service categories. Larger scholarship awards are available to students from diverse cultural backgrounds and people of color as the Diversity in Environmental Education and Conservation Scholarship.

Institute scholarships are separate from and may be offered in addition to Federal Financial Student Aid awards or WWU scholarships. North Cascades Institute’s awards are applied to the residency tuition and housing costs.


Please submit your scholarship application to North Cascades Institute at the same time you submit your graduate school application to Western Washington University if you would like to be considered for an Institute scholarship. All Institute scholarships are applied to the residency tuition and fees and cannot be applied to WWU tuition. Students seeking scholarships are also encouraged to pursue scholarships through the University. Information about WWU scholarships can be found on their website.

To apply, submit the scholarship application questions below along with a short essay (1-2 pages) or multi-media response to


1. Please describe how you plan to finance your graduate education.

2. Do you currently have outstanding student loans? If so, how much and what is the timeline for repayment?

3. Please provide a specific estimate of the funding you will need in order to participate in this program.


Please attach a short 1-2 page essay or multi-media response (audio/visual, website, or other creative presentation) describing the skills and experience you will bring to the graduate residency portion of the program and how you see yourself contributing to the community at the learning center. If you are applying for a Diversity in Environmental Education and Conservation Scholarship, also address the ways your background and interests will contribute to the diversity of our professional community.

North Cascades Institute admits students and participants of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, military or marital status, age, sensory, physical or mental disability.

work study

Most students are eligible for work study through Western Washington University, a federal program that pays up to $18/hour towards tuition for work that you can do with North Cascades Institute. Contact for more information!

We suggest that you investigate other financial aid opportunities available through foundations, government grants, community groups, professional organizations, financial institutions and other sources.

Joshua Porter: Graduate Program Director

big_quotation_mark.pngIf you want to be a leader in Environmental Education, we designed this program with you in mind. I invite you to come visit the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center and see for yourself! You can also contact me at or (206) 526-2568 with any questions.Study-Joshua