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Hundreds of students rally in Olympia for College Bound Scholarship and State Need Grant

OLYMPIA – More than 250 middle school students, high school students, college students, parents, educators, youth advocates and community members from across Washington are gathering today at the Capitol in support of the College Bound Scholarship and State Need Grant. Together, the College Bound Scholarship and State Need Grant have helped hundreds of thousands of Washington students obtain a college education, but nearly 34,000 students could not get financial aid last year because the money ran out. The students and other participants will urge legislators to fully fund these programs.

The importance of achieving a college degree or career credential is increasing in our state. Research done by the Georgetown University Center on Education in the Workforce states that by 2018, 67 percent of the jobs in Washington State will require some form of postsecondary credential. In South Seattle and South King County – the county’s areas of highest need – only about a third of the young people receive a two- or four-year degree by their mid-20s. Washington State ranks very low when it comes to helping low-income students go to college. Only 47 percent of low-income high school graduates directly enroll in college, compared to 68 percent of their higher-income peers.

About the College Bound Scholarship:

  • Across our state, more than 212,000 low-income students – mostly students of color – have signed up for Washington State’s College Bound Scholarship. Started in 2007, it covers college tuition (at public institution rates) and a small book allowance for low-income students who sign up in 7th or 8th grade, commit to work hard in school, stay out of legal trouble and successfully apply to a higher education institution when they graduate from high school. Research shows the College Bound Scholarship is having a positive impact on students. Statewide, high school graduation rates for students with the scholarship are 15 percentage points higher than their low-income peers. College Bound Scholarship students also enroll in college at higher rates than low-income students without the scholarship. Advocates want the scholarship to be continued.

About the State Need Grant:

  • The State Need Grant program helps the state’s lowest-income undergraduate students pursue higher education. While more than 70,000 students received the State Need Grant in 2013-14, 33,500 eligible students were not served due to lack of funds. Research by the state shows that receiving the State Need Grant is associated with higher retention and completion rates in college.

“While great strides have been made, now is the time to invest in Washington’s future by improving access to higher education opportunities for all of our students. It is fundamentally a matter of equity and justice,” said Dr. Yolanda L. Watson Spiva, president and CEO of College Success Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving and supporting students throughout Washington State.

Many organizations worked together on this advocacy day, including College Access Now, College Success Foundation, the Road Map Project, Seattle Education Access and SOAR.

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