Monthly Archives: February 2015

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    College Bound Scholarship effectiveness confirmed by new data

College Bound Scholarship effectiveness confirmed by new data

February 26th, 2015|

New data released today by the Washington Student Achievement Council confirmed the effectiveness of the College Bound Scholarship program, a program which connects low income middle school students with an early commitment that they will receive financial aid for college if they stay out of trouble and graduate high school with good grades.

The most recent data released was for the 2014 class of College Bound students, 75 percent of whom graduated high school compared to 62 percent of their low income peers who were not enrolled in the program. This was the third class of College Bound students to graduate from high school – the 2012 and 2013 classes also graduated at significantly higher rates than non-College Bound low income students.

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, lauded the program for its success in closing the opportunity gap and helping low income students graduate high school and afford college.

“Many of these College Bound students come from tough backgrounds or are the first in their family to attend college. Without the promise of support that College Bound makes, many of them might not think of themselves as future college students,” said Frockt. “This program works on two levels – it encourages students to apply themselves and succeed while in high school, and it makes it possible for these students to afford college when they otherwise could not. It’s showing enormous promise for closing our opportunity gap and we should be expanding it so every low income student in the state has the chance to participate.”

A College Bound workgroup over the summer of 2014 recommended several policy reforms that could make College Bound even more effective. Surveys showed that many students and their families were unaware of the opportunity to enroll College Bound, or enrolled and then forgot that they had done so. The Tacoma School District in particular was noted for enrolling more students into College Bound and for keeping them engaged with the program through high school.

Frockt sponsored two pieces of legislation to implement the recommendations of the College Bound workgroup and apply these best practices across the state – SB 5851 and SB 5856.

“Closing the opportunity gap and making sure every student has a chance to succeed in school and life is one of our top priorities as a legislature,” said Frockt. “When you look at the evidence, there are few programs in state government that do as much to help low income students succeed in school and have the chance to attend college as College Bound. The best part is we know we can do even better by expanding the program and reaching out to even more students. I’m excited that this latest data confirms the effectiveness of College Bound and I look forward to working to make this program even stronger.”

College Bound Advocacy Day

February 19th, 2015|

On Tuesday I had the privilege of welcoming hundreds of students, parents and educators as they advocated for the College Bound Scholarship and State Need Grant. Students started the day on the Senate floor where we recognized them with Senate Resolution 8618, acknowledging the major impact of the College Bound Scholarship. It was truly amazing to watch the students’ excitement as the State Senate recognized their hard work to make it through high school and into college.

From there we rallied in the rotunda, where cheers of support for the program could be heard through the entire Capitol. The speakers touched on the importance of staying engaged in the political process. When students cheered at this, I felt excited that so many young people were resolved to keep fighting for access to higher education.

The College Bound Scholarship provides a tuition scholarship for students throughout Washington. The scholarship is open to seventh and eighth graders who qualify for free or reduced lunches and also sign a pledge to do well in school and stay out of trouble, with students experiencing foster care automatically enrolled.

The College Bound Scholarship gives students a pathway to college from a very early age, and we are now seeing evidence that students enrolled in CBS are more likely to graduate high school than their peers of the same income bracket who are not enrolled. We see College Bound students doing better in high school because they know if they keep their grades up, they’ll have a college scholarship waiting for them. It helps them once they’re in college because many of their families wouldn’t be able to afford college without the support. This is showing tremendous potential to close the opportunity gap and ensure that every student has a chance to succeed.

It is imperative we get our students across the finish line by graduating high school, and from there we must provide greater access to higher education. The future of our community rests in the hands of these students, and with growing income inequality we must ensure students of all socioeconomic backgrounds have the opportunity to get living wage jobs in the state of Washington. That is why we must continue to support the College Bound Scholarship and State Need Grant because if we don’t, our disadvantaged students will continue to miss out on the great opportunities that exist in our state.

Homeless student support legislation advances

February 18th, 2015|

For the past few years, one of my top legislative priorities has been providing more support for homeless students. The most recent survey by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction found more than 32,000 homeless students in Washington – an unacceptably high number. As we work to provide a great education for all Washington students, we need to recognize the unique challenges faced by homeless students and their families, and we need to go above and beyond to provide them the support they need to succeed.

King 5 recently ran a story describing some of the challenges faced by homeless students and their families, including a story about a single mother with two kids who had to spend the night in a Porta-Potty because it was the only place they could find a locking door to stay safe. How can we expect students to succeed in school when they are sleeping in Porta-Potties, cars, or moving between shelters or the homes of friends and family?

Last year I sponsored and passed the Homeless Student Education Act, the first legislation in state history targeted specifically at supporting homeless students. My legislation this year, SB 5065, would provide homeless students with additional support in their school by hiring more homeless student liaisons, staff specifically trained to work with homeless students and their unique needs, and would additionally provide funds to improve housing stability for these students.

I’m glad to be able to report that this legislation, along with companion legislation in the House sponsored by Rep. Jake Fey, is moving forward. My Senate bill has been passed out of committee and is now under consideration by the budget-writing Ways & Means committee, and Rep. Fey’s House bill was passed out of committee just yesterday.

Supporting homeless students is clearly a high priority for the legislature this session, and I look forward to continuing to work on this issue. I will keep you apprised of new developments and I hope that I’ll be able to report at the end of this session that we’ve passed meaningful legislation to help get these students off the streets and into housing, so they get a fair chance to succeed in school and life.