Skip to main content | (360) 753-7800

Pave the Way Conference

PTW Virtual Logo

Pave the Way

Pave the Way aims to ensure historically marginalized students receive the support they need to succeed.

...Stay tuned for future Pave the Way events.

Past Webinars

In lieu of an in-person conference in 2021, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) hosted a series of Pave the Way Virtual webinars focused on strategies to advance equity, increase college readiness, and broaden access to higher education in Washington State.

June 10, 2021  - Guided Pathways: Redesigning College to Increase Equity in Persistence and Completion Rates
View the Recording

View the Slide Presentation

This session will explore the impact of Guided Pathways as a whole-college reform strategy to increase persistence and completion rates for students of color at community and technical colleges. The Guided Pathways model is supported by research that shows that scaling discrete interventions will not be sufficient to improve student success overall or close equity gaps; rather, colleges need to redesign programs, student services, information systems, and business process at scale—with a goal of enabling all students to better explore, choose, plan, and complete a program of study that enables them to advance in the labor market and further education. This session will feature a presentation from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) that will provide an overview of the research and latest findings. Attendees are encouraged to read the policy brief, Investing in Student Success at Community Colleges: Lessons from Research on Guided Pathways from CCRC in advance. Following the presentation, faculty and college leadership will offer perspectives on the implementation of Guided Pathways in Washington.

May 13, 2021 - Helping Communities and Families Save for College: Child Development Accounts
View the Recording

Child Development Account (CDA) programs, also known as Children's Savings Account programs, are gaining momentum as an effective strategy to help address the racial wealth and opportunity gap by empowering families to build assets and save for postsecondary education. This session will discuss the latest research on CDAs’ impact in states and local communities, consider implementation in Washington, and discuss how CDAs can be used in tandem with other programs to increase postsecondary attainment. Attendees are encouraged to read Prosperity Now's report "Sustaining the Movement: The State of the Children's Saving Field 2020."

April 8, 2021 - Multi-Faceted Support Programs: Using Evidence to Address Multiple Barriers to Student Success and Advance Equity
View the Recording
View the Slide Presentation

WSAC’s Equity Landscape Report highlights various racial equity gaps in terms of persistence rates, transfer rates, and participation in developmental coursework that are key indicators to understanding Washington’s challenge to increase postsecondary attainment, especially for students of color. In this session, experts from MDRC will share evidence-based research and highlight programs grounded in this research that have been shown to support postsecondary students’ credential attainment, with a focus on equity. A panel of leaders will discuss local progress and confront the challenges to successfully implementing these strategies, especially in light of COVID-19. This session is presented in partnership with MDRC. MDRC is committed to finding solutions to some of the most difficult problems facing the nation—from reducing poverty and bolstering economic self-sufficiency to improving public education and college graduation rates.

March 18, 2021  Postsecondary Basic Needs: Busting Barriers to Critical Supports
View the Recording

Learn how financial supports play a critical role in addressing postsecondary basic needs security, with a specific focus on leveraging emergency assistance grants and SNAP benefits. This session will provide an overview of postsecondary basic needs security nationally and in Washington, strategies to address current challenges, and actions we can all take to address them. Bringing together research and practice, you will learn from the research from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, as well as the work and partnerships of colleges, student leaders, nonprofit organizations, and state agencies to collectively bust barriers to critical supports.

February 11, 2021  Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Regional Partnerships Supporting Adult Learners
View the Recording

Over 229,000 people in Washington are unemployed, and several regional efforts are trying new equity-focused approaches to support adult learners. We will hear from college and community partners from North King, Pierce, and Spokane regions to learn about strategies that include: multi-campus outreach, adult learner “peer” orientations, pre-enrollment financial help, and pre-enrollment coaching in partnership with 9 campuses. 

January 7, 2021  From Equity Gaps to Educational Debt: The Student Experience in Higher Education
View the Recording

In partnership with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, FuturesNW, and the Washington Student Association, this session will focus on the postsecondary education experience of students who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). From Equity Gaps to Educational Debt: The Student Experience in Higher Education will reflect on whether Washington is achieving equity in postsecondary attainment and invite attendees to consider what the State should do to ensure an adequate higher education for all Washington students. The session will feature a panel of BIPOC students from various higher education sectors in Washington to understand the student experiences in postsecondary education and inform the opportunities and challenges for Washington.

November 6, 2020 – Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education in Washington State
View the Recording

In the recent report Labour Market Relevance in Four US States: Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) looked at how graduates fared in the labour markets of four diverse states. While the research was carried out before the COVID-19 crisis, the key findings and policy recommendations in the report are even more relevant in the post-COVID recovery period, as countries seek to harness the potential of higher education to help citizens upskill and reskill. The presentation will focus on findings and policy recommendations for Washington, shedding light on areas of misalignment between graduate supply and demand, dispersion in graduate outcomes, and policies to help align higher education and the labour market and improve outcomes for all graduates in the state.

October 22, 2020 – Unlocking Access to Postsecondary Enrollment—FAFSA/WASFA as a Key Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis
View the Recording 
View the Slide Presentation

This webinar will highlight Washington’s challenge with improving FAFSA/WASFA completion rates. Increasing completion is the key to students accessing the state’s generous financial aid system, including the Washington College Grant (WCG). Despite the groundbreaking investment of the WCG, the state still has seen a consistently low financial aid completion rate. We will examine recent national evidence that suggests FAFSA filing rates may be lower during the current cycle for low-income students and students of color due to COVID-19 and show state data that points to existing racial disparities in FAFSA filing. 

WSAC is taking steps to address the challenge though Aim Higher Washington, an ambitious initiative to advance equity in postsecondary attainment through the support of FAFSA/WASFA filing. Join us and find out more about how you can be involved, with a presentation of data and research followed by a panel discussion focused on state and local efforts to increase FAFSA/WASFA completion.

September 24, 2020 – Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
View the Recording

This webinar will highlight findings from WSAC’s recently released report Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis. The report presents lessons from the Great Recession and observations from the growing body of evidence around students' and workers' experiences during the current crisis, highlighting COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on marginalized populations, and discusses priority areas for addressing educational inequities and economic challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.


Visit our archives for information about past years' Pave the Way conferences.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please contact us if you require special accommodations, translation or interpretation services, or other assistance to participate.