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Reports & Publications

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Feature Publication

Featured Publication

The 2023 Washington State Higher Education & Labor Market (HELM) Report

The 2023 Washington State Higher Education and Labor Market (HELM) Report is the inaugural issue and is intended to replace the biennial Skilled and Educated Workforce Report, under a new title and with a new format. The new format covers much of the same ground as the Skilled and Educated Workforce Report but includes new elements, such as regional outlooks in addition to the statewide. The HELM Report is an analysis prepared in collaboration with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board (WTB), and the Association of Washington Business (AWB), as part of the broad educational needs assessment specified in RCW 28B.77.080. The report has four primary purposes: (1) to assess how well the state’s postsecondary education system is aligned with the demands of the labor market, (2) to identify key drivers of employer demand in the various occupational clusters, (3) to highlight industries and occupational fields in which students and adult learners may find expanding employment opportunities, and (4) to explore factors, such as the advance of workplace automation, which are impacting the labor market. 

Read the Full Report.

Research and Data

Research and Data

  • Establishing the Regional Challenge Grant: Local Partnerships Leading the Way to Advance Educational Outcomes in Washington (2023 Program Framework | Legislative Report - EnglishSpanish | Appendix A - EnglishSpanish)
  • A New Approach to Increasing Awareness of Postsecondary Opportunities and Financial Aid in Washington: Embedding a Learning Agenda into Outreach Efforts (2023)
  • Washington State Encyclopedia of Education Data (2021)
  • Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis (2020 Executive Summary | Report)



  • Research Digest: Uneven educational attainment impedes progress towards state goal (2024 Digest | PDF)
  • State Strategies for Building Equitable Access to and Success in Postsecondary Education (2022)
  • Equity Can't Wait: Examining Racial Disparities in K-12 Education in Washington State (2022 Snapshot | Report)
  • The Digital Divide: Examining High-Speed Internet and Computer Access for Washington Students (2021)
  • What Evidence from Research Tells Us: Closing Racial Equity Gaps in K-12 Postsecondary Transitions - Research Spotlight (2021)
  • Equity Landscape: Exploring Equity Gaps in Washington Postsecondary Education (2020 Snapshot | Report)
  • What Evidence from Research Tells Us: Closing Equity Gaps in Postsecondary Access and Completion (2020)
  • Access and Diversity in the Running Start Program (2014)
  • Collaborative Efforts to Improve Access to Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities (2013)
  • Educational Attainment for All: Diversity and Equity in Washington State Higher Education (2013)



  • Research Digest: Zooming in on FAFSA Completion Rates in Washington (2024 Digest | PDF)
  • State Student Loan Report (2023)
  • State Student Loan Report (2022)
  • Knowledge is Power: Ongoing Efforts to Increase Financial Aid Awareness and Access for Washington Students (2023)
  • College Bound Scholarship Auto-Enrollment Brief (2023)
  • Intergenerational Economic Mobility of Need-Based Financial Aid Recipients in Washington: Evidence from Three years After Postsecondary Graduation (2022 Snapshot | Report)
  • Data Profile: FAFSA/WASFA and WCG Receipt (2021)
  • Maintaining Investment in Higher Education During a Time of Crisis (2020)
  • FAFSA Completion by High School Students (2019)
  • From the Frontline: Principals' Views on Engaging Students About the Benefits of Acquiring Postsecondary Education and Training Using Financial Aid (2019)
  • Issue Brief: Increasing financial aid applications pays off in student success (2019)
  • Affordability Framework (2016)



  • Automating Access to Increase Enrollment: Emerging Strategies to Increase Postsecondary
    Enrollment for Washington Students (2024)
  • Research Digest: Why enrollment rates hold more hope than alarm (2024 Digest | PDF)
  • Building Bridges: CWU and WSAC (2024)
  • Washington Public Enrollment Trends: Fall 2023 Enrollment Update (2024)
  • Strengthening OtterBot for Improved Financial Aid and Postsecondary Enrollment through the OTTERS Project (2024)
  • Washington Public Enrollment Trends: Monitoring Fall Enrollment at Postsecondary Institutions Before, During, and After the COVID-19 Pandemic (2023 Snapshot | Report)
  • Turning Intention into Action: Exploring Student Attributes that Predict Enrollment and Retention at Central Washington University (2023 Snapshot | Report)
  • Postsecondary Enrollment Trends: Fewer Washington High School Graduates in the Classes of 2020 and 2021 Enrolled Directly in Postsecondary Education - Research Spotlight (2023)
  • State-Level Enrollment Trends and Policy Responses (2022)
  • Views from Research: Exploring Challenges to Postsecondary Access (2022)
  • Exploring Challenges in Postsecondary Access (2022)
  • Adult Learner Study (2022)
  • OtterBot Brief (2022)
  • What Evidence from Research Tells Us: Family Engagement in College Pathways Decisions - Research Spotlight (2022)
  • Facing Learning Disruption: Examining the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on K-12 Students (2021)
  • Fall Enrollment Report: Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Postsecondary Enrollment in Washington (2021)
  • Improving Postsecondary Access: Washington Career and College Pathways Innovation Challenge Program (2021)
  • Understanding Postsecondary Enrollment Trends in Washington and How the COVID-19 Crisis Continues to Impact Students’ Postsecondary Opportunities (2021)
  • From the Frontline: Principals' Views on Engaging Students About the Benefits of Acquiring Postsecondary Education and Training Using Financial Aid (2019)
  • College Bound Scholarship Postsecondary Enrollment: An Exploration of Students' Understanding and Beliefs (2017)
  • GED Test Changes and Attainment (2016)
  • Reciprocity Report (2015)



  • Research Digest: The pandemic's impact on credential attainment (2024 Digest | PDF)
  • Postsecondary Program Participation and Completion Patterns Among Individuals Incarcerated in Washington State Prisons (2021) - Developed for WSAC by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, in partnership with the Dept. of Corrections and State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
  • Some College, No Degree: A look at those who left early (2015)


Student Supports

  • Research Digest: The State of Basic Needs Insecurity for Postsecondary Students (2024 Digest | PDF)
  • Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness Pilot Project Report (2023 Executive Summary | Report)
  • Basic Needs Security Among Washington College Students (2023 Executive Summary | Report)
  • Bridge to Finish Outcome Study (2023 Snapshot | Report | Technical Appendix
  • Expanding Access to Housing Support Resources for Postsecondary Students Experiencing Homelessness in Washington (2022)
  • Exploring Food Insecurity for Postsecondary Students in Washington (2021)
  • What Evidence from Research Tells us: Addressing Mental Health Needs for Postsecondary Students (2020)
  • College Readiness (2016)


Labor Market

  • Higher Education and Labor Market (HELM) Report (2023)
  • Pathways to Higher Education Credentials and Funding for Apprenticeships: Year One Integrated Summary Report (2023)
    • Appendix A – Situation Assessment of Pathways to Higher Education Credentials and Funding for Apprenticeships (2023)
    • Appendix B – Education Northwest: Apprenticeship and Higher Education Research Report (2023)
  • Annual Report to the Legislature: Assessment as to Whether the State Should Establish an Institution, or Centralized Program, for Apprentices to Receive Related Supplemental Instruction for Credit Toward a Degree (2023)
  • New and Expanded Cybersecurity and Nursing Programs Progress Report (2023)
  • COVID-19 Reskilling and Upskilling (2020 Report Snapshot I Report)
  • COVID 19 Reskilling and Upskilling Regional Highlights:
    • Chelan County (2021)
    • Grays Harbor County (2021)
    • Lewis County (2021)
    • Pierce County (2021)
    • Spokane (2020)
    • Thurston County (2021)
    • Tri-Cities (2020)
  • Exploring the Computer-Related Workforce of Washington State (2020)
  • Washington's Skilled and Educated Workforce Report (2021) (2019) (2017) (2015) (2013)
  • Educator Field Placement in Rural Areas (2019)
  • For-Profit Degree-Granting Institutions and Private Vocational Schools in Washington - Phase II Report (2017)
  • Regional Educational Needs Assessment (2017)
  • Situation Assessment of the Regulation of For-Profit and Private Vocational Schools in Washington (2016)
  • Southeast King County Higher Education Needs Assessment and Operating Plan Report (2016)


Dual Credit

  • Increasing Equitable Access, Participation, and Success for Students in Dual Credit Legislative Report from the Dual Credit Task Force (2021)
  • Dual Credit Report (2016)
  • Advanced Placement and College Credit: Policy Brief (2014)
  • Credit-by-Exam Acceptance Policies (2014)


Prior Learning Assessment



  • Transfer Equity Project: Summary of Themes & Priorities (2023)
  • Transfer Report: A Review of Improvement in Transfer (2023) (2021) (2019) (2017) (2015) (2013) (2011)


Tuition and Fees

  • National Tuition and Fee Report (2014) (2013)



  • Residency Workgroup Report (2022)

Roadmap and Strategic Planning

Roadmap and Strategic Planning

Strategic Action Plans


Roadmap Updates and Supporting Briefs

  • Roadmap Progress Report (2019) (2017) (2015)
  • Postsecondary Success Issue Brief (2015)


Roadmap Report

Financial Aid Programs

Financial Aid Programs

Financial Aid Programs Expenditure Reports


Financial Aid Legislative Reports

  • Access, Affordability, Achievement: Annual Report on State Financial Aid Programs (2012)
  • Aerospace Training Student Loan Program Report (2019)
  • Aim Higher Washington - Legislative Report (2020)
  • College Bound Scholarship (2018) (2017)
  • College Bound Senior Counts and FAFSA Completion (2019)
  • Educator Workforce Report (2023)
  • Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) SB 5954 Legislative Report (2016)
  • Higher Education Loan Program Report (2012)
  • Passport to Careers Implementation and Outcome Evaluation (2024)
  • Passport to College Promise: Program Update (2017)
  • State Need Grant Legislative Report (2014)
  • State Need Grant Policy Review (2012)
  • State Need Grant Survey: Final Report (2014)
  • State Need Grant Less-Than-Half-Time Pilot Project Report (2013)
  • Student Financial Aid and Access Programs Annual Report: 2011-12 and 2012-13 (2013)
  • Student Loan Advocate - Legislative Report (2021)
  • Student Teaching Grant (2017)
  • Teacher Shortage Conditional Grant (2018)

Grant Awards

Grant Awards

Open Educational Resources

  • Open Educational Resources Grant Pilot Program (2019)
  • Final Report - Western Washington University (2019)
  • Final Report - Central Washington University (2019)
  • Report to the Legislature - Higher Education OER Grant Program (2019)

This page contains reports produced by the Washington Student Achievement Council since its inception on July 1, 2012. Reports and publications produced by its predecessor agency, the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB), can be found in our archives.