Passport for Foster Youth
The Passport to College Promise Scholarship program (Passport) was created in 2007 by the state of Washington to help students from foster care attend and succeed in college. Without significant intervention, fewer than 2 percent of foster youth are likely to attain a bachelor’s degree.
Passport is a comprehensive program providing support to students from high school through higher education completion. Three primary components are administered by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC): 1) a student scholarship, 2) campus incentive funding to provide recruitment and retention services, and 3) a partnership with the College Success Foundation to provide support to students and training and technical assistance to campus staff.
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) manages the Supplemental Education Transition Program (SETuP) to provide support to high school students.
The primary purpose of the Passport program is to provide former foster youth with financial assistance beyond other state, federal, private, and institutional financial aid for which they are eligible. In addition, the program provides incentive funding to postsecondary institutions that designate campus support staff and take other steps to recruit and retain former foster youth.
WSAC is also tasked with establishing additional student intervention and retention services to foster youth through the College Success Foundation.
In the 2014-15 academic year, 376 students were served. Since 2008, the Passport scholarship has been awarded to an average of 325 students annually.
The Passport program provides the first opportunity to obtain verifiable baseline data on foster youth aspirations and performance in postsecondary education in Washington.
A groundbreaking data exchange was developed between WSAC, DSHS, and colleges to enable verification of student eligibility. Intensive support services on college campuses assist student retention rates and postsecondary success. Currently, 50 institutions are participating in the “viable plan” to offer these support services.
More information about the Passport Scholarship can be found on our partner site, readysetgrad.org.