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Media Highlights - Washington College Grant

Washington College Grant - Media Highlights

The following media highlights represent stories acknowledging the impact and importance of the new Washington College Grant program.

Yakima Valley College receives $320,000 to aid undocumented students (YakTriNews)

March 15, 2021—Yakima Valley College is one of many Washington state institutions to receive federal aid through the state’s Emergency Relief Grant program signed into effect in February. According to a release issued by the school, Yakima Valley College will redistribute $321,850 in grants to assist undocumented Washington residents as they pursue higher education in the Spring 2021 quarter. Keep reading.

Want to strengthen Pierce County economy? Support students after high school (Tacoma News Tribune)

February 21, 2021—The last year has tested every single one of us, but the grit and determination of Washingtonians – especially students – have been inspiring. Young people across our region and state continue to foster big dreams. Students are working hard to stay on course despite the pandemic, to become the next generation of healthcare workers, engineers, manufacturers, teachers and so much more. Keep reading.

State financial aid offers lifeline to Washington students during crisis (The Spokesman Review)

February 15, 2021—Amber Webber lost her job when COVID-19 hit Washington early last year. That could have meant the end of her college education, but with the support of Washington’s financial aid programs, Amber has been able to continue earning her degree in computer science from Gonzaga University while homeschooling her daughter with special needs. She expects to graduate this spring. Keep reading.

Supporting students is key to an equitable economic recovery (The Kitsap Sun)

February 14, 2021—The pandemic is exacerbating educational inequities as the impacts of learning loss grow among the population, hitting students of color and students from low-income backgrounds particularly hard. Postsecondary institutions are also finding themselves under intense pressure from pandemic-related enrollment declines, loss of on-campus revenue, and the threat of state funding cuts even while they reinforce their commitments to providing equitable outcomes for all students.  Keep reading.

COVID has derailed college dreams. Lawmakers must protect our economic future (Tri-City Herald)

February 12, 2021—COVID-19 has caused deaths, destroyed livelihoods, slowed student learning and stunted personal growth. And unfortunately, it’s a safe bet that the harm caused by the pandemic will ripple for years to come. That’s why it is so important for Washington state lawmakers to think longer term and protect the budgets of our colleges, technical schools and four-year universities. Keep reading.

Maintain investment in higher ed and its students (The Everett Herald)

February 5, 2021—Few will be as eager to be done with the restrictions and workarounds that have been forced by the covid-19 pandemic than college students. For most, the lectures, workshops and discussions have gone online and the social aspects of college life have been greatly curtailed.  One thing that hasn’t changed for most, however: college’s costs for tuition, fees, texts, room and board and other expenses. But the flip side of that investment is that students still have the opportunity to benefit from their educations, acquire skills and knowledge and complete their studies with credentials that greatly improve their chances for careers with which they can support families. Keep reading.

Lawmakers must focus on education essentials (The Seattle Times)

January 15, 2021—Living up to Washington state’s paramount duty to education is a work in progress, to put it mildly. But in this remote legislative session, state lawmakers must focus on pressing issues first. That means giving schools needed flexibility during the continuing coronavirus pandemic, preserving recent gains in funding, and placing strong guardrails around any new allocations for pandemic-specific needs. Keep reading

Seattle Promise gains ground in higher education (The Seattle Times)

December 6, 2020—Nearly one in four of Seattle Public School 2020 graduates have access to two years of tuition-free college or professional training, thanks to the Seattle Promise program. That’s particularly important for bolstering enrollment as it slumps at most state colleges and fewer Washington students apply for financial aid in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Clearly, too few students are planning for higher education. Seattle Promise offers a model for other Washington communities looking to boost students’ access to higher learning and career success. Keep reading

How COVID-19 could lead to fewer Washington students going to college in 2021 and beyond (The Seattle Times)

December 6, 2020—A dip in applications for financial aid tells a troubling story about which and how many Washington students are making plans to pursue — and get help paying for — education after high school. Those early warning signs have alarmed Washington state’s college access and financial aid workers, sending them into overdrive. They’re doubling down on virtual information sessions, making sure students know there’s immediate help if they call by phone, and trying everything, anything to get high schools and colleges in on the action. Keep reading

After four years of Betsy DeVos, what a Biden presidency will mean for education in Washington (The Seattle Times)

November 17, 2020—It’s hard to say exactly if, or how, four years of education policy under Betsy DeVos changed anything about schooling in Washington state. Many of her landmark policies — promulgating school vouchers, rolling back Obama-era civil rights rules — didn’t make much of a dent in Democratic states. Education leaders in Washington say President Donald Trump’s administration put them on constant defense, fending off executive orders, or finding new ways to pay for things that federal funding suddenly stopped covering. Keep reading

'Free college' programs sound great - but who gets excluded? (The Hechinger Report)

October 23, 2020—At a time when higher education is in constant flux – some of it is online, some of it is in person with students at a social distance, some of it is in hybrid form – at least one part remains constant: It’s expensive. The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year, nonprofit, private institution was $36,900 in 2019-2020 for a full-time student. For an in-state student at a public institution, it was $10,400. Numbers like these could make any student or family inquire about free-college programs. And they sound great in politicians’ speeches, too. But upon closer examination, many of these programs exclude students who could most benefit from them, according to a new report from The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for historically underserved students. Keep reading

Few free college programs cover living expenses and include adult students: report (EducationDive)

October 23, 2020—The report lauds the Washington College Grant as one of the most equitable free college programs in the nation. It promises to pay full tuition and fees for qualifying students whose families meet certain income thresholds, such as $50,000 for a family of four, The Seattle Times reported earlier this year. Students from higher-earning families can qualify for partial support. Keep reading

The promise and disappointment of free college (Inside Higher Ed)

October 21, 2020—Some college promise programs are associated with positive effects on enrollment for Black and Hispanic students, according to new research published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis​. Promise programs commit to covering tuition costs for eligible students, generally at community colleges (some go beyond this and also cover fees or provide cost-of-living funds). Researchers looked at 33 single-college, local programs at two-year colleges to study the effects on first-time, full-time college enrollments. Keep reading

A promise worth keeping: an updated equity-driven framework for free college programs (The Education Trust)

October 21, 2020—Out of the 23 free college programs examined in our report, only one meets all of our criteria for an equity-focused program, the Washington College Grant. Also unique among statewide free college programs, the Washington College Grant comes with a guaranteed revenue stream: a small new tax on high-revenue employers who benefit from high-skilled workers. This enables Washington to fund every eligible student, even during economic disruptions, while students in other states face free-college waiting lists when funding is tight. Keep reading

Completing the FAFSA can be a career-maker for Washington students (Seattle Times)

November 1, 2019—Washington students are missing out on free money. Millions of dollars in federal financial aid—including up to $50 million in Pell Grants in 2018—went unclaimed after eligible high school seniors didn’t fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA). Not only is that a miss for those students, but some worry that today’s low completion rates will translate into missed opportunities down the road. Keep reading

Apply for financial aid to access Washington College Grant and other state, federal aid (WSAC) 

September 30, 2019—October 1 marks the first day students can apply for financial aid to go to college in the 2020-21 school year. Next school year is also when the Washington College Grant will be fully funded. The grant will give more money to more students for more kinds of education and training after high school. Touted as one of the most generous and flexible programs in the country, it will help low- and middle-income people of all ages take their next step. The grant currently supports students pursuing certificates and degree programs. Beginning in 2020-21 it will also support people in registered apprenticeships. Keep reading

Washington's new higher education bill should make college more affordable (Inlander)

September 30, 2019When Gavin Pielow chose to go to Washington State University, he knew his parents couldn't afford to pay his tuition. Instead, he thought he'd qualify for state financial aid. But Pielow, who recently graduated from WSU, never saw that financial aid from the state. He was one of thousands of students who qualified for the Washington State Need Grant each year but was put on a waitlist as the program's funds ran dry. Keep reading.

Free college? Actually, some states are already offering it to students. (Washington Post)

June 25, 2019—Free college tuition proposals have multiplied in recent years, from promises in presidential campaigns to legislation at the state level. Two key questions relate to eligibility — which students and colleges qualify — and cost: how will we pay for it? Washington State recently became the latest to enact a free college tuition program, and both its policy design and its innovative funding source deserve national attention. Keep reading

Editorial: Too many grads leaving financial aid untouched (HeraldNet)

June 25, 2019—It’s not too late. But it’s getting close. High school graduates, whether they’re still working on “thank you” notes for graduation gifts from family and friends or already have them in the mail, may have one more task ahead that must be completed by Sunday night. About half of graduates in Washington state are about to leave much more money on the table than the $50 check from their aunt and uncle. Keep reading

Flexible Washington college grant focuses on needs of students (Spokesman Review)

June 23, 2019—For nearly a decade, we have made the case in these pages for full funding of Washington’s signature student aid program, the State Need Grant. In what we believe is one of the most important achievements of this most recent legislative session, the Legislature and governor have renamed and significantly expanded our state’s key student aid program. Keep reading

Sending more to college: The new promise of the Washington College Grant (The Daily)

June 6, 2019—Washington State has announced a new plan to send more students to college without the cost. The Legislature’s new two-year budget indicates a transformation for higher education funding across the state through the development of the Washington College Grant. Keep reading

Legislators tell of reduced college tuition program (Peninsula Daily News)

June 5, 2019—A need-based, free or reduced college-tuition program funded by a surcharge on high-skill businesses was lauded Tuesday at a Port Angeles Business Association meeting by three 24th District state legislators who voted for it. Keep reading.

'Gigantic expansion’ of Washington’s State Need Grant means free college for poorest students (Spokesman Review)

May 31, 2019—Paris Hines always rushes to fill out financial aid applications so she can cover tuition at Spokane Community College. “I always try to apply as fast as I can,” she said, “because if you wait for it, you might miss out.” Keep reading

A legislative session that invested in Olympic College (Kitsap Sun)

May 30, 2019—Recently, Gov. Jay Inslee signed historic legislation that will significantly increase access to higher education for residents of Kitsap County and the state of Washington. Starting in fall 2020, the Workforce Education Investment Act guarantees free tuition for families earning $50,000 or less per year, and provides partial assistance for families making up to the state’s median income for a family of four, which will be about $92,000. Keep reading

Could you go to college tuition-free in Washington? Here's how to find out (Seattle Times)

May 28, 2019—We asked readers to send us their questions about the new act, and received 45 responses. Below, we’re answering the most commonly asked questions. Keep reading

New Washington College Grant will also be available for students to use at private colleges (KNKX)

May 28, 2019—Washington lawmakers voted to make public college or university tuition free for students who come from families earning less than about $50,000 a year. That will become a guarantee starting in the 2020-21 school year. They also expanded eligibility for the grant, so students from families that earn up to about $90,000 will qualify for partial tuition assistance. Officials at private colleges and universities said it’s good news for them, too. Keep reading.

Experts say Washington's new higher ed bill is one of the smartest ways to make college more affordable (Inlander) 

May 23, 2019—When Gavin Pielow chose to go to Washington State University, he knew his parents couldn't afford to pay his tuition. Instead, he thought he'd qualify for state financial aid. Keep reading

More free tuition, less student debt ahead in Washington. Future Tacoma graduates can cheer that (The News Tribune)

May 21, 2019—Way to go, Class of 2019. College graduates from the Tacoma area ought to toss their mortarboards with joyful abandon as they enter the next phase of life with hard-earned degrees in hand. Keep reading

Inslee signs package of education bills, ushers in one of the most progressive education investments nationwide (Governor's Medium Blog)

May 21, 2019—Gov. Jay Inslee signed a major education bill Tuesday that establishes one of the most progressive higher education investments in the country. The Workforce Education Investment Act is a comprehensive package of major proposals that include two governor-priority policies. Keep reading.

Free college is coming for more low income students in Washington (KUOW)

May 21, 2019—Kim Malcolm talks with Michael Meotti about the Workforce Education Investment Act. Keep reading

More tuition, less student debt ahead in Washington (The News Tribune)

May 21, 2019The Legislature this year adopted a bold overhaul to the State Need Grant, a program for free or reduced tuition that’s been underfunded more than a decade, leaving thousands of eligible low-income applicants on the outside looking in. Keep reading

Changes to the state's college grant program has 'broad reach' for Cowlitz County (The Daily News, Longview)

May 19, 2019—After a 20-year break from school, Natalie Stricker wasn’t sure she could afford classes at Lower Columbia College when she enrolled in the pre-nursing program in April last year. But this mother of five was determined to build a better life for her and her children. Keep reading

What does a guarantee of free college tuition mean to Yakima? (Yakima Herald)

May 16, 2019—Opportunities for post-secondary students in the Yakima Valley could open up dramatically in 2020. Just how dramatically? Heritage University said at least 100 students could be added each year to its enrollment of about 750. Keep reading

The State of Washington's new financial aid approach hits the sweet spot (Forbes)

May 13, 2019—The state of Washington just passed one of the smartest financial aid packages in the country. Part of the Workforce Education Investment Act, a comprehensive higher education bill that also adds millions in operating funds for public colleges, the new program would enable as many as 110,000 low- and medium-income Washington residents to attend college for free or at least at significantly lower cost. Keep Reading.

Washington State moves toward free and reduced college tuition, with businesses footing the bill (New York Times)

May 8, 2019—Washington State lawmakers have taken a major step toward offering free or reduced college tuition using funds from businesses there, including Amazon and Microsoft, in a move that is being applauded by policy analysts for its innovation and reach. Keep reading.

Free college is coming for WA families making under $50K (Crosscut)

May 7, 2019—For years, Washington state has failed to fully fund its financial-aid program for low-income college students. This school year, about 18,000 people qualified for Washington’s State Need Grant, but didn’t get an award because of the program’s limited budget. That is now set to change. Not only did Washington lawmakers approve a plan to fully fund the college grant program, eliminating the wait list over the next two years, they’re expanding who qualifies — and making the awards guaranteed. Keep Reading.

110,000 Washington students a year will get money for college, many a free ride (Seattle Times)

May 5, 2019—Starting in 2020, more Washington residents will be able to attend college for less money. For many, it will be free. Keep Reading

Some Washington students will get free college tuition under approved bill (King5 News)

April 30, 2019—If your family of four makes less than $51,000 a year, you’re in line to receive free college tuition over the next few years. That was the result of the Workforce Education Investment Act, which lawmakers approved Sunday. The act makes some of Washington’s biggest companies invest in higher education in hopes of training up students to become tomorrow’s workers. Keep Reading