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info@wsac.wa.gov | (360) 753-7800
917 Lakeridge Way SW | Olympia, WA 98502

Student Engagement

Get involved!

Are you a college student who is interested in shaping state policy to ensure more Washingtonians earn a postsecondary credential?

Washington has a goal to increase the postsecondary credential attainment rate for adults to 70 percent. In 2018, 58 percent of Washington’s adults had a credential beyond high school. But we are leaving communities of color behind; the attainment rates for residents of color, except those who identify as Asian, fall below the state’s overall rate, as low as 22 percent for some student groups. 

WSAC has committed to not only centering equity in our strategic framework, but also centering students. WSAC seeks to engage with students as valued partners in addressing postsecondary educational equity by amplifying student voices to inform state policy and practices. Student involvement will ensure that state leaders focus on student-centered solutions to achieve Washington State’s postsecondary credential attainment goal.

We are committed to equity and inclusion

Elevating the voices of students of color is an integral piece of the WSAC student engagement model (see the WSAC Equity Statement). WSAC is mindful of the fine line between tokenism and empowerment when working with students of color. To this end, WSAC seeks to empower students by intentionally creating spaces for student to speak their truth, co-develop interventions, and implement solutions. In this way, WSAC works to engage with students as valued partners in shaping state policy throughout all stages of solution development.

WSAC acknowledges that barriers, such as transportation, access to childcare, language, etc., can act as structured exclusion and should be taken seriously to maintain equitable student engagement. WSAC works with each student to identify potential barriers and seek solutions to the best of WSAC’s ability. 

Students can expect a WSAC engagement experience that nurtures their leadership development and provides a platform for authentic and constructive contributions. Moreover, we acknowledge power dynamics as a state agency and fairly compensate student experts for their work. We are also committed to making the opportunity to participate accessible to all students.

 

Affect State Policy

The student voice is essential

WSAC is seeking to engage with students as valued partners in addressing postsecondary educational equity. Student involvement increases clarity and focus on student-centered solutions to achieve Washington State’s postsecondary credential attainment goal; this work includes critical evaluation of current policy and programs, policy development, and program implementation. 

What does this look like in practice?

The levels of commitment vary, depending on project-need. General examples of student commitment could be as follows:

  • Lower Commitment
    • Attend one to two meetings
      • Preparation: Little preparation required.
      • Participation: Offer your student-experience feedback, guidance, and insight to contribute to the discussion.
  • Modest Commitment
    • Multiple meetings, or full-day events
      • Preparation: 2-5 hours of meeting preparation. May include additional meetings in advance of an event.
      • Participation: Serve as a meeting panelist, participate in a meeting focus group, or volunteer for various subcommittees. 
  • Higher Commitment
    • Direct involvement in projects panning from one month to one year
      • Preparation: Several hours, spanning from project inception to completion. 
      • Participation: Direct work with WSAC staff in project planning, management, execution, and evaluation - as related to the student experience.

 

Application Process

Application

Students are invited to fill out an online application. The WSAC student engagement application remains open on a rolling basis and students are offered opportunities to engage as opportunities arise.

Selection 

WSAC seeks student participation reflecting the various sectors of postsecondary education and Washington's diverse student population. WSAC works with essential partners to ensure student participation reflects the needs and experiences of Washington State students. This includes the intentional practice of elevating the voices of students of color.  

Partnership with community-based organizations is also essential to amplify the student voices and provide constructive, authentic, and meaningful feedback. Essential partners include, but are not limited to, WSA, WA-SEN, and Futures NW

WSAC considers students’ policy interests, higher education sector, and region for engagement. Additionally, we may use self-reported identity information to ensure voices of students of color are amplified in alignment with the WSAC Equity Statement