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Washington College and Career Compass

Compass: Help adults navigate to a better future. 

Working Adults Image​Nearly one million working-aged adults in our state have not finished the courses needed to earn a credential.

College & Career Compass will help them navigate educational pathways and get back on the path to completion. We've designed the online tool is designed to help adults return to school and finish their education. Users will: 

  • Learn critical information, tips, and resources for returning adult learners
  • Search for Washington educational programs and pathways
  • Connect with campuses committed to supporting adult learners’ progress.

Washington colleges stand ready to support adults 

In partnership with two- and four-year campuses across the state, the Washington Student Achievement Council maintains the website for Compass. See a complete list of participating campuses in the tab at the bottom of this page. 

  • Participating campuses. 55 campuses have provided their educational programs to promote pathways to adult learners. 
  • Compass campuses. Of these 55, a growing list of campuses (currently 51) have agreed to evaluate adult learner practices and provide tailored support to inquiring students connected through the Compass tool. These campuses understand that Compass will be an integral tool to increase our state’s educational attainment. 

Education and community leaders welcome Compass

“Pierce College has been nationally recognized for its dedication to helping all students overcome obstacles that stand in the way of their educational goals, so they can more quickly graduate and ultimately advance their careers. We are excited to partner with WSAC in the College and Career Compass to serve adult learners in our community interested in pursuing their educational and career goals.”

—President Darrell Cain, Pierce College Puyallup

“Meeting the needs of students at any age is central to the missions of Washington’s not-for-profit, private universities. We are thrilled to partner with the Washington Student Achievement Council on the College and Career Compass initiative. By featuring options from every corner of the higher education ecosystem, we can ensure that Washingtonians who aspire to earning their degree can see the full range of academic programs and campus environments available across the state.”

Dr. Terri Standish-Kuon, President and CEO of Independent Colleges of Washington.

“Through its Greater Minds initiative, Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) fuels our future economy by building a talented workforce that is nimble, robust and competitive. WSAC’s newly created College and Career Compass tool supports GSI and our partners efforts and is an integral part of supporting adults in their return to education. We look forward to deepening our ability to build the well-educated and skilled workforce of the future.”

Alisha Benson, CEO Greater Spokane Inc.

“LWTech is pleased to join the College and Career Compass to fully support adults interested in successfully completing degrees that will help them thrive with livable wage jobs.”

Dr. Amy Morrison, Lake Washington Institute of Technology President

Statewide outreach targets former students

WSAC is launching Compass with an email campaign to over 100,000 adults who don’t have a postsecondary credential. 

The email messages are encouraging and inspirational, intended to steer adult learners to visit the new online tool, learn about how colleges and financial aid have changed to be more supportive, and reconsider the prospect of finishing a credential. The messages—and content in the tool—also emphasize the new Washington College Grant, a powerful resource for adult learners.

Pathways for Returning Adults

The completion of a postsecondary credential is critical for participation and success in the 21st-century economy. Empowering adults to return to the classroom, complete their credential, and advance in their careers can have profound benefits on Washington’s families, our communities, and state’s economic and civic health.

Partnerships for Washington's adult learners 

To meet this critical need for skilled employees, Washington adopted a goal of at least 70 percent of all adults (ages 25-44) completing a postsecondary certificate or degree. Establishing the College and Career Compass initiative is an essential step to reaching the educational attainment goal. Success will hinge on continued partnerships with key stakeholders from higher education, businesses and employers, targeted regions of the state, state agencies, and policy makers, who together will strengthen and define our shared commitment to serving adult students. The development of College and Career Compass was supported in part by Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation dedicated to expanding access to and success in education beyond high school.


Campus Participation 

Campus Participation 

WSAC invites our postsecondary partners to participate in College & Career Compass. Outreach to adult learners will begin in March 2020. 

View a recorded presentation that includes background on the initiative, a description of the interactive tool, and steps to participate. All campuses that participate in state financial aid may submit educational program information to be included in the online tool. Participating campuses will complete the following four steps. 

1. Educational Program File. Complete and submit an Educational Programs file that WSAC sent to campus partners. If you have questions about the status of your program file or would like a template, contact Rachelle Sharpe at

2. Institutional Self-Assessment and Response Plan. Review the Self-Assessment worksheets and the Student Response Plan description with a cross-divisional campus team. These documents will help you prepare your responses for online submission. Submit your responses online here: Survey 1: Institutional Self-Assessment and Response plan. (Survey 1 Transcript

3. Campus Profile. Review the Campus Profile description and submit profile information online: Survey 2:  Campus Profile

4. Memorandum of Agreement. WSAC has shared an MOU with campus partners outlining the roles of WSAC and participating campuses, including steps to complete and timelines. 

For questions about campus participation, look at our FAQs or contact Rachelle Sharpe at  

Advisory Teams


February 26, 2018

July 31, 2018

April 20, 2018

December 11, 2017

October 6, 2017

July 31, 2017

August 1, 2017

  • Washington Student Achievement Council, Olympia
  • Agenda  I  Presentation  I  Meeting Notes

June 15, 2017

March 31, 2017

2021 Pierce County Partnerships

College Coaching 

WSAC is partnering with nine institutions in Pierce County to offer coaching.  Over 1,100 residents in the Pierce County region have an opportunity to work one-on-one with a college coach, at no cost. The coach will help prospective students overcome obstances and identify a high-value educaitonal pathway and connect directly to a campus advisor.  



2018 Summit

Effective Practices Exchange

On November 28, 2018, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) convened over 200 leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities to increase educational attainment of adult learners in Washington State. Visit the event archive to learn more and access materials from the 2018 Adult Reengagement Summit.

Reports and Resources

Reports and Resources