Issaquah students could get a free ride to college
June 16, 2009
By Laura Geggel
College tuition may seem out of reach for many families as the economy continues its slump and state universities raise their rates.But college is within reach — even free — to some students who meet requirements.
After hearing the 2006 Washington Learns report, the state Legislature agreed to implement the report’s recommendation of making college more accessible to students of low-income families. In 2007, the state Legislature allotted $7.4 million to fund the College Bound Scholarship Program, which will begin in 2012 and last until 2014.
Issaquah seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students can apply for the program now and receive the money once they are of college age.
The program is aimed at helping children of low-income families. Students who are on the free or reduced-price lunch program or whose families’ incomes are 65 percent or less of the state’s median annual family income of $47,000 qualify for the program.
Foster children also qualify, as well as home-schooled and private school children who fit the requirements.
There are only two stipulations students must adhere to before receiving money: maintain a 2.0 grade point average and not commit a crime.
Students who sign up for the award will receive four years of tuition to a state school and a $500 annual stipend for books.
Only 83 of the possible 306 eligible Issaquah seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders have applied for the scholarship in the past two years.
Eighth- and ninth- graders must apply by June 30 for the scholarship this year, as they won’t be eligible to enroll next year. However, seventh-graders have until June 30, 2010, to apply.
“The College Bound Scholarship Program is a wonderful opportunity for students who are from low-income families to gain access to higher education,” said Bob Burdick, director of public relations at the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The scholarship applies to two- and four-year universities and vocational programs.
“Not everyone wants a four-year degree,” Burdick said.
Learn more by calling 1-888-535-0747 toll-free or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who want to learn more about financial aid but do not qualify for the College Bound Scholarship Program can find resources at http://www.hecb.wa.gov/paying.
On the Web
Go to www.hecb.wa.gov and click on “College Bound Scholarship.”