Rural Transportation Scholarships

WSDOT’s Public Transportation Division administers Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) scholarships. These scholarships are available to rural transportation providers to help cover registration and travel expenses for training courses, workshops and conferences.

Eligible recipients include:

  • Rural Washington transits (not urban or small urban agencies)
  • Rural Washington tribes
  • Washington non-profit special needs providers serving rural areas

How to get a training scholarship from the Rural Transportation Assistance Program

To be eligible for a Rural Transportation Assistance Program training scholarship, you must meet the following requirements:

  • The training or conference you wish to participate in must benefit your agency by supporting grant compliance, increasing knowledge of best practices and peer resources, or improving efficiency/effectiveness of operations.
  • Your organization has a financial need for assistance.
  • The application/request for a scholarship must be signed by the chief executive officer of the agency and received by WSDOT at least 30 days prior to the event.
  • Before your training, you must have a copy of an approved WSDOT expense worksheet signed by WSDOT.

The Rural Transportation Assistance Program manager reviews each application and awards the scholarships. Criteria used in that determination include:

  • Justification in terms of financial need and anticipated value to the agency.
  • Relevance of training to the individual's job at the agency.
  • Award limitations:
    • There is a limit of 10 scholarships to any one agency per fiscal year.
    • There is a limit of two individuals from a single agency, per training opportunity.
  • Availability of funds in the scholarship program budget.

What will a training scholarship cover?

Rural Transportation Assistance Program training scholarships will reimburse the traveler/agency for the following expenses:

  • In-state* training or conference registration/tuition.
  • Travel costs, such as airfare, mileage (calculated from residence or work station, whichever is closer), parking, ferry or toll fare, and ground transportation such as taxi or bus fare.
  • Government-rate accommodation (rate plus taxes and fees).
  • Rural Transportation Assistance Program scholarships may not be used for meal reimbursement.

*Out-of-state requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in coordination with your regional community liaison. There is a limited amount of scholarship funding set aside for out-of-state events.

How does the scholarship work?

Send an application with estimated expenses and backup for those estimates to the Rural Transportation Assistance Program manager.
If WSDOT approves your scholarship, you will receive an approval in the form of a custom Rural Transportation Assistance Program expense worksheet.

Following your training or conference, return the original expense worksheet signed by your chief executive officer within 60 days. Include all relevant receipts and a written summary and evaluation of the training/conference you attended (evaluation form is page 2 of expense sheet).

The Rural Transportation Assistance Program will pay up to the "Maximum RTAP available" amount on the original expense worksheet with some flexibility for taxes and fees added to the accommodations rate. All other costs over the approved amount will be the responsibility of the recipient's agency.

How much funding is available?

The Rural Transportation Assistance Program will reimburse for approved scholarships based upon these guidelines:

  • Eligible costs up to $600 are reimbursed at 100 percent.
  • Costs beyond $600 will be reimbursed at 50 percent up to a total award of $1,000.
  • Total reimbursement will not exceed $1,000 per scholarship. All costs beyond that are the responsibility of the recipient's agency/organization.

Exceptions to these limits are at the discretion of the Rural Transportation Assistance Program manager and must be applied for in writing at the time the scholarships are requested.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

  • Download an application form (353.41 KB)
  • Complete the application form, including your estimated expenses. Be sure that your agency's chief executive officer signs it.
  • Email signed form along with backup for estimates to PTDGrants@WSDOT.WA.GOV.

How do I get my reimbursement?

  • Fill in the amounts in the Actual Expenses column of the expense worksheet and get the signature of your chief executive officer confirming your attendance at the conference/training.
  • Complete the evaluation questions on page 2 of the worksheet.
  • Attach receipts for your eligible expenses if actual backup was not provided at time of application.
  • Email to PTDinvoices@WSDOT.WA.GOV

You will not receive reimbursement if your signed expense form, evaluation and receipts have not been received within 60 days of the end of the training/event.

Exceptions to these limits are at the discretion of the Rural Transportation Assistance Program manager and must be applied for in writing at the time the scholarships are requested.