Highline Students Flock to Free College Offer
According to the Highline School District, its students far surpass other districts in signing up for state scholarships.
Hundreds of Highline middle school students have applied for the state College Bound Scholarship, which pays for four years of college tuition, fees, and books for students who stay in school, stay out of trouble, and keep their grades up. Low-income students and students in foster care are eligible for the scholarship.
Statewide, only 29% of eligible students have signed up for the scholarship since it was announced last spring.
In Highline, 71% of eligible students applied.
At Pacific Middle School, 95% of the eligible students sent in applications. Principal Cecilia Beaman says she talked about the scholarship with students and parents at every opportunity. â€œWhen a parent came in to talk to me, I signed them up on the spot. As I saw students in the halls, I talked with them, handed them an application, and then dogged them,â€ she says. Teachers and counselors talked with individual students. A language tutor worked with Latino families to sign students up. â€œIt was a team effort, and we were tenacious,â€ says Beaman.
Sylvester Middle School signed up 167 students, 82% of those eligible. At both Chinook and Cascade middle schools, well over half of qualifying students applied for the scholarship.
â€œGetting students to apply was a big priority for us, because getting kids prepared for college is our focus as a school system,â€ says Highline Superintendent John Welch. â€œFinances are a barrier for many of our families who want to send their children to college. The College Bound Scholarship removes that barrier, so we work very hard to make sure all our families take advantage of this opportunity.â€
When students apply for the scholarship, they pledge to keep their grades above 2.0 GPA, graduate from high school, and be law-abiding citizens. As long as they still meet income requirements at graduation they receive the scholarship, which can be used at any state college or university.