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Media Release - 2017.02.22 - College Bound Scholarship

College bound scholarship investment pays off in high school graduation, college enrollment

February 22, 2017

Graph of 2016 Four-Year High School Graduation Rates. Press release includes key takeaways. Olympia—Over 30,000 of last year’s eighth graders signed up for the College Bound Scholarship. The scholarship helps Washington’s low-income students reach higher levels of educational attainment. In combination with other state aid, it covers tuition at public college rates. Eligible students sign up in middle school by June 30 of their eighth grade year to receive an early commitment of state funding.

Even with more students signing up for the program, College Bound high school graduation rates have held steady. For the last five years, they’ve been more than 10 percentage points above the statewide average for low-income students who did not sign up for the program. The 2016 four-year high school graduation rate for College Bound Scholarship students was 76 percent. In comparison, only 64 percent of low-income students who were eligible—but didn’t sign up—graduated in 2016. 

The benefits of the College Bound Scholarship program extend beyond high school. College Bound students are enrolling in college at slightly higher than the statewide rate. To receive the scholarship, students must be admitted to and enroll in an eligible college within one year of high school graduation. In 2013-14, College Bound students enrolled in college at a rate of 64 percent. This is three percentage points higher than the statewide college enrollment rate of 61 percent. 

As the College Bound Scholarship has grown, the importance of middle school sign-up efforts is clear. To highlight the role of school districts—and especially middle schools—Governor Inslee has recognized over 200 schools and 103 school districts with Gold Star Awards. These schools and districts exceeded the statewide average sign-up rate of 71 percent. School district sign-up rates are available on the WSAC website.

About the Washington Student Achievement Council

The Washington Student Achievement Council is committed to increasing educational opportunities and attainment in Washington. The council has three main functions:

  1. Lead statewide strategic planning to increase educational attainment.
  2. Administer programs that help people access and pay for college.
  3. Advocate for the economic, social and civic benefits of higher education.

The council has nine members. Four members represent each of Washington’s major education sectors: four-year public baccalaureates, four-year private colleges, public community and technical colleges and K-12 public schools. Five are citizen members, including one current student.

Find us on Twitter @WSACouncil and Facebook.