SOUTH SEATTLE/SOUTH KING COUNTY – A record 96% of students from low-income families in the South Seattle and South King County region have signed up for the state’s College Bound Scholarship, which could pay for their college tuition. Thanks to the efforts of schools, community organizations, cities and many other partners working together as part of the yearly Road Map Project College Bound Scholarship campaign, thousands of middle school students are now on track to receive the scholarship. There are 5,560 eligible 8th grade students in the region – the largest number of eligible students in the scholarship’s history – and the sign-up rate is expected to climb as applications are processed.

The College Bound Scholarship combines with other state aid to cover the average cost of tuition (at comparable public colleges), some fees and a small book allowance for students from low-income families who sign up by June 30 of their 8thgrade year, maintain a 2.0 GPA, stay out of legal trouble, file the FAFSA and successfully enroll in a participating higher-education institution when they graduate. The scholarship is considered a game-changer for students in the region. Recent data show that students who signed up for the College Bound Scholarship take harder courses in high school and enroll in college at higher rates than their low-income peers without the scholarship.

“It’s great that districts in the region have signed up 96% of eligible students for the College Bound Scholarship! This opportunity opens doors for students and families who might not have otherwise considered postsecondary education due to the cost. This is a huge win for our region, where nearly three out of five students come from low-income families. This scholarship allows thousands of students to continue their education past high school – it’s critical that no eligible student miss this opportunity,” said John Welch, Superintendent of the Puget Sound Educational Service District, a regional educational agency and support to the College Bound Scholarship work.

The Road Map Project is a community-wide effort aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from cradle to college and career in South King County and South Seattle. Alongside many partners, the Road Map Project has supported the region’s College Bound Scholarship sign-up campaign for four years. Last year, the South King County/South Seattle region set a record by signing up 94% of 5,165 eligible students. The Road Map Project website tracked sign-up progress by school district on its College Bound Scholarship web page.

There were many examples of great sign-up work during this campaign. Highline Public Schools reached 100% of its eligible 8th grade students. The Auburn School District hit 99% and has successfully integrated a system for identifying and signing up students. The Tukwila School District made huge gains this year – signing up 99% of students, a 25 percentage point increase over 2013.

“Highline has committed to achieving a 95% graduation rate beginning with the class of 2017. We believe every student should graduate prepared to choose their future — and this means being college-ready. Our staff, especially at middle school, work incredibly hard to ensure that no student misses the opportunity to attend college due to a lack of resources. This is why we believe that enrolling every eligible student in the College Bound Scholarship program is so important,” said Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent of Highline Public Schools.

The 2014 deadline for eligible 8th grade students to sign up has passed, but incomplete applications (those missing a student or guardian signature, etc.) can still be completed and turned in by the end of summer. High school seniors who already signed up for the scholarship are reminded to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is a requirement to access the scholarship.

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