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Work underway to sign up region’s students for ‘game-changing’ scholarship

SOUTH SEATTLE/SOUTH KING COUNTY– A regional push is underway to make sure students from low-income families don’t miss out on a scholarship that could pay for their college tuition. The annual Road Map Project College Bound Scholarship sign-up campaign, which involves school districts, community organizations, cities and many other partners, is off to a strong start. Seventy-nine percent of the region’s 5,559 eligible 8th grade students are already signed up – a 7 percent increase from this time last year – despite an increase in the overall number of eligible students.

The College Bound Scholarship combines with other state aid to cover the average cost of tuition (at comparable public colleges), some fees and a small book allowance for students from low-income families who sign up by June 30 of their 8th grade year, maintain a 2.0 GPA, stay out of legal trouble, file the FAFSA and successfully enroll in a participating higher-education institution when they graduate.

“The College Bound Scholarship is a game-changer for our region because it removes a major roadblock to college: the cost. We don’t want a single eligible student to miss this opportunity and are working in our schools and with community partners to sign up all eligible 7th and 8th graders. We are committed to meeting this important challenge. Nothing less than 100 percent is acceptable to me,” said Dr. Nancy Coogan, superintendent of the Tukwila School District.

The Road Map Project is a community-wide effort aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from cradle to college and career in South King County and South Seattle. Alongside many partners, the Road Map Project has supported the region’s College Bound Scholarship sign-up campaign for four years. Last year, the South King County/South Seattle region set a record by signing up 94 percent of 5,165 eligible students. The Road Map Project website is tracking sign-up progress on its College Bound Scholarship web page.

According to data received the week of April 14 from scholarship administrators at the Washington Student Achievement Council, 79 percent of the region’s 5,559 eligible students have signed up for the College Bound Scholarship. Here are the latest sign-up rates for individual districts in the Road Map Project region:

  • Auburn School District: 86 percent of 587 eligible 8th grade students
  • Federal Way Public Schools: 69 percent of 961 eligible 8th grade students
  • Highline Public Schools: 79 percent of 934 eligible 8th grade students
  • Kent School District: 89 percent of 1,072 eligible 8th grade students
  • Renton School District: 67 percent of 566 eligible 8th grade students
  • Seattle Public Schools (south-end schools only): 79 percent of 1,263 eligible 8th grade students
  • Tukwila School District: 85 percent of 176 eligible 8th grade students

There are nearly 400 additional 8th grade students eligible for the scholarship this year than in 2013, which is consistent with the region’s increasing poverty rate. Still, the region is 7 percentage points ahead of the sign-up rate in April 2013. There are many examples of great sign-up work in our region, including the Auburn School District, which has signed up a large percentage of eligible students far before the deadline for the second year in a row. Also, the Tukwila School District has already surpassed its final sign-up rate from last year by 12 percentage points.

“Signing up students for the College Bound Scholarship is becoming part of the normal routine in classrooms across the region. Schools and their community partners are doing a great job of identifying and connecting with students well ahead of the June 30 deadline. However, there is work ahead to ensure students complete their applications. A missing signature, for example, could prevent a student from accessing the scholarship opportunity,” said Marina Espinoza, College Bound regional officer for ESD 121, King County, at the College Success Foundation.

High school seniors who already signed up for the scholarship are reminded to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is a requirement to access the scholarship. Students and families may apply for the College Bound Scholarship at http://www.readysetgrad.org/college/college-bound-scholarship-program.

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About the Road Map Project: The Road Map Project is a community-wide effort aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from cradle to college and career in South King County and South Seattle. The project builds off the belief that collective effort is necessary to make large-scale change and has created a common goal and shared vision in order to facilitate coordinated action, both inside and outside schools. The Road Map Project is supported by the Community Center for Education Results. For more information, please visit www.roadmapproject.org. Find us on Facebook by clicking here and Twitter at @RoadMapProject.