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.”