New scholarship program for the middle class taking applications now
Probst’s Opportunity Scholarships will help 3,000 families afford college
OLYMPIA – Washington state high school seniors and college students may apply immediately for a new college scholarship program that reaches far into the middle class. The Opportunity Scholarships program is accepting applications online, from now until April 16.
The Opportunity Scholarships Act was sponsored by Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, and passed the Legislature with bipartisan support in 2011. The program will award 3,000 scholarships for $1,000 per year, renewable for up to five years. It is the first program of its kind in the nation, and is funded through a public-private partnership. The state allocated $5 million in seed money for the program and Boeing and Microsoft have already committed $50 million, combined.
"This is what can happen when Americans focus on serving our neighbors instead of dividing our country,” Probst said. “Companies and government, Democrats and Republicans, we all put our heads together and found a completely new answer. This is how American democracy was supposed to work in the first place."
Called “a G.I. Bill for our middle class students” by its supporters, the program creates Opportunity Scholarships for students studying for bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields. The scholarships are designed to address the fact that tuition increases are making college harder to afford for middle income families. Students from families with earnings up to 125% of the state's average income can apply.
Here are income eligibility limits for the current round of applications (based on 2011 family income)
- Family of 1 - $53,200
- Family of 2 - $69,500
- Family of 3 - $85,900
- Family of 4 - $102,200
- Family of 5 - $118,600
- Family of 6 - $134,900
- Family of 7 - $138,000
- Family of 8 - $141,000
- Family of more than 8 - Add $3,000 more per person
To apply online, students should go to www.collegesuccessfoundation.org.
High school seniors through college seniors who plan to attend colleges and universities in Washington state for the entire 2012-13 academic year are eligible to apply. A student must be a Washington state resident, have a 2.75 GPA or higher and have completed a 2012-2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to submit an application.