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917 Lakeridge Way SW | Olympia, WA 98502

Pave the Way Conference

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Pave the Way Virtual

In lieu of an in-person conference in 2021, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is hosting a series of webinars focused on strategies to advance equity, increase college readiness, and broaden access to higher education in Washington State. Pave the Way aims to ensure historically marginalized students receive the support they need to succeed. 

Next Up:

Helping Communities and Families Save for College: Child Development Accounts
May 13, 2021 @ 9:00-10:30 A.M. - Register Now!

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." 

This session is hosted in partnership with WA529 College Savings Plans. WA529 helps Washington families save for educational expenses, with a vision of fostering a well-educated community by helping students and families overcome financial barriers to education and avoid future debt.
 

Schedule & Registration

Schedule & Registration

Pave the Way Virtual webinars will take place via Zoom. Details of upcoming events in this series will be posted as they are available.

Date Time Topic Participate

May 13, 2021

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Helping Communities and Families Save for College: Child Development Accounts

Register Now

April 8, 2021

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Multi-Faceted Support Programs: Using Evidence to Address Multiple Barriers to Student Success and Advance Equity

View the Recording

March 18, 2021

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Postsecondary Basic Needs: Busting Barriers to Critical Supports

View the Recording

Feb. 11, 2021

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Regional Partnerships Supporting Adult Learners

View the Recording

Jan. 7, 2021

9:30–11:00 A.M.

From Equity Gaps to Educational Debt: The Student Experience in Higher Education

View the Recording

Nov. 6, 2020

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education in Washington State

View the Recording

Oct. 22, 2020

1:00–2:30 P.M.

Unlocking Access to Postsecondary Enrollment—FAFSA/WASFA as a Key Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis 

View the Recording

Sept. 24, 2020

10:00–11:30 A.M.

Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

View the Recording

Speakers

Speakers
May 13 – Helping Communities and Families Save for College: Child Development Accounts
Dr. William Elliott & Shira MarkoffKeynote Speaker

Dr. William Elliott III, Professor of Social Work, Director of the Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Science, and Founder of the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan

Professor William Elliott is a leading researcher in the fields of college savings accounts, college debt, and wealth inequality. Shaped by his personal roots in poverty, in a small steel mill city in Pennsylvania, he challenges individual beliefs and cultural values that surround funding for college, student debt, inequality, systemic patterns of poverty, and educational justice. Some of the college savings account programs he is currently conducting research on are CollegeBound in St. Paul, MN, Promise Scholars in Indiana, and the Harold Alfond College challenge in Maine. He’s published in journals such as Economics and Education Review, Journal of Poverty, Race and Social Problems, Educational Policy, and his most recent book is, “Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children’s Savings Accounts.” His research adds fuel to debates about how to imagine ways of financing college other than by student debt. He believes that there are real possibilities and his research bears this out. He asks if college education can truly be the great equalizer it is meant to be when wealth inequality remains the defining feature of America. He calls for the next great wealth transfer in America. The seemingly naive premise behind his research is there are better, more effective, and more just ways of financing college and delivering on the promise of the American dream. He suggests people must just be shown once again that more is possible.

Moderator 

Shira Markoff, Director of Children’s Savings Accounts at Prosperity Now

Shira Markoff is Director of Prosperity Now’s Children’s Savings Team, where she focuses on supporting existing Children’s Savings Account (CSA) programs and expanding CSAs to more children across the United States. The team provides technical assistance to CSA programs, advocates for CSA policies at the state and local levels, develops tools and resources for the field, and helps programs raise funds from individual donors through the 1:1 Fund. Shira is an expert on CSA design and implementation and is the co-author of the preeminent guide to designing CSA programs, Investing in Dreams. Prior to joining Prosperity Now, she worked as Program Manager for Seedco, where she supported community-based organizations across New York City in implementing programs that assisted low-income families in receiving tax credits and accessing government benefits. Shira also served two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA helping to implement an IDA program. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from American University and a B.A. from Rutgers University.

Panelists

The Honorable Marko Liias, Washington State Senator

Senator Marko Liias represents the communities of the 21st Legislative District, which includes neighborhoods in Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood, and Mukilteo. After graduating from local Mukilteo public schools, he was the first in his family to go to college, and he worked his way through Georgetown University with the help of student loans and scholarships. He received a Master’s in Public Administration from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington. Now serving his third term as a senator, Senator Liias has focused on policies to build an economy that works for everyone and to create strong pathways to education and opportunity, while ensuring a focus on equity and social justice for all Washingtonians. Senator Liias led the effort to protect LGBTQ youth in Washington by banning so-called conversion therapy. He has also focused on tackling the student debt crisis, passing multiple bills including the Student Loan Bill of Rights, a refinancing program for college debt, and a new low-interest student loan program for undocumented students and Dreamers. In addition to his service in the Legislature, Marko is a college professor, teaching courses in American Government. He also continues to volunteer with the Kamiak High School Debate Program, serves as a trustee of the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and is an honorary trustee of the National Nordic Museum.

Michael Mirra, Executive Director at Tacoma Housing Authority

Michael Mirra is the executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) in Tacoma, WA. He has served in that position since 2004. Before that he served for two years as THA’s general counsel. Prior to joining THA, Michael practiced law for about 25 years with Columbia Legal Services in Washington State and legal services in Tennessee representing low-income persons and organizations in civil matters. Michael graduated from the University of Chicago and Vanderbilt Law School. He grew up in Queens. 

Julie Peachey, Deputy State Treasurer for Consumer Programs at Pennsylvania Treasury

As the Deputy State Treasurer for Consumer Programs at Pennsylvania Treasury, Julie leads strategy and execution of Pennsylvania's 529 College & Career Savings Program and the Keystone Scholars program, which automatically provides a $100 starter deposit for postsecondary education to every Pennsylvania child at birth. Prior to her current role, Julie spent more than 15 years in international development, focused on financial inclusion and impact measurement. She is passionate about building financial security and economic opportunity, believing that appropriately designed financial services have the ability to change lives by providing dignity, opportunity and financial empowerment. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern Methodist University, Julie started her career as a CPA at KPMG in Chicago, Illinois, and subsequently received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. 

Eunice Barnett, Neighborhood Liaison at Tacoma Housing Authority

Tacoma native Eunice Barnett attended public schools, having graduated from Mount Tahoma high school and the Evergreen State College, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration. Her passion for community service led to an internship with Evergreen's cooperative education, where she was instrumental in the recruitment and placement of over 300 new college enrollees in the 1970s. Eunice has varied experience with state, local, and national organizations, having served as a project lead at Boeing, a paraeducator with Tacoma Public Schools, and in various other fields such as medical clinics. Recently, Eunice was invited to serve as a parent advisor with Tacoma Housing Authority., where she provides feedback and suggestions on how to motivate and inform residents about children's savings programs, the Washington State GET program, and higher education enrollment. While engaging youth and young adults to become self-motivated and driven can be daunting, Eunice believes that fun, creative, and simple opportunities for all who are interested can be successful, no matter the race, culture, or obstacle.

Past Webinars

Past Webinars
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.

Sponsorships

Interested in sponsoring Pave the Way Virtual?

Make an impact! Your organization can help advance equity and broaden access to higher education in Washington State by contributing to the success of Pave the Way. Learn more in our Call for Sponsors.

 


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.