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Monday, May 09, 2011

Free College

Did you know that the State of Washington will guarantee tuition to a Washington public college or university to any student on the federal free and reduced lunch program — if that student maintains a 2.0 grade point average and does not commit a felony during their entire high school career?

It's true. But the student has to enroll in the scholarship program by the 8th grade. And the deadline is almost here.

100 percent of eligible 8th graders in Seattle should be enrolled in the College Bound Scholarship program by the June 30, 2011 deadline.

We need to step up and take responsibility as a city to help our children, especially when many families cannot afford to send their kids to college. Even if you don't have a child who qualifies, you probably know someone who does. Please share the above information and the following link as widely as possible. Students may apply for the College Bound Scholarship online at: http://hecb.wa.gov/collegebound

EVERY SEVENTH AND EIGHTH GRADE STUDENT SHOULD BE REGISTERED

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Charlie, THANK YOU!

I WILL spread this far and wide. I have already started. I cannot believe that I never heard of this. I cant believe we arent helping every eligible 8th grader in the district apply.

Wow!!!
Is this program supposed to be some kind of secret!?

soynonymous

Anonymous said...

A not on qualifying: you don't have to qualify until the student is ready to attend college. For those riding the edge it might make a huge difference if the economy continues a downward trend. Most schools are encouraging all students to apply regardless of current status because of this.

Former teacher

GreyWatch said...

Doesn't look like it includes people who might be eligible at some point in the future, which is too bad. Didn't scour the site for more info, but the language below seems pretty clear:

INCOME STANDARDS
To be eligible for the College Bound Scholarship, your family must currently meet one of the four income standards below.
We, the student and parent or legal guardian, certify that one or more of the following is true. Please check all that apply:
1. The student is eligible for the federal free or reduced-priced lunch program.
2. Our family receives basic food/TANF benefits.
3. Our 2009 family income from all sources (taxable and non-taxable) was less than or equal to the amount indicated by the tool below.
3. Student is currently in foster care and is automatically eligible to apply.

NOTE: Family income from the student's senior year will be used to verify financial eligibility for this scholarship award.

anonymous said...

Actually the application says that in order to apply the family has to meet the state low income qualifications both currently and at the time of college application.

Seems like a fantastic opportunity.

SC Parent said...

Why isn't SPS sending out a letter to the parents of all FRL students? They know who these students are, don't they?? They could even include a copy of the application.

Do principal's know?? Are they asking the teachers to mention it in their classes??

If a school somehow managed to still have a counselor on staff, is that person meeting with the FRL students to explain this opportunity to them?

Knowing that college could be paid for would certainly inspire at least a few students.

Anonymous said...

This IS a fantastic opportunity. But many, many lower- and middle-middle-income families (especially those with more than one child) are starting to find anything other than community college out of reach as well.

I just find it very disheartening that our current economic climate continually makes it harder and harder for middle-income families to succeed. WA State residents were quite adamant that they wanted to continue the disproportionate tax system (sales and property) that favors the very well off.

SG

SG

anonymous said...

SC parent, do you know that SPS does not notify all low income families to let them know about this? Maybe they do?

Our school notified families by sending an application home (to all students) and posting the info on their website.

Lori said...

Similar to Peon's experience, I know of this program because a relative teaches in a high poverty school in a nearby district and she told me about it. I know they work hard to get their kids to enroll. Not sure if it's a district-driven, school-driven, or teacher-driven effort though.

Nonetheless, is it conjecture that SPS isn't telling appropriate families about this, or do we actually know that no effort is made in Seattle?

Melissa Westbrook said...

The district has a link with no explanation about it at its Career/College page.

I did a random check of 5 middle schools and 3 K-8s and only Eckstein and Salmon Bay mention it at their website/newletter. (Salmon Bay sent letters to eligible families AND followed up. Good for them.)

It seems likely to be spotty notification if it doesn't appear on a school's website or in their newsletter.

SSSG said...

Melissa, this may seem unusual to you and others who are from middle and upper income families, but many, many low income families don't own computers and thus do not use their schools' websites to check on what's going on/available at their schools. They prefer paper notices, or even face-to-face contact. This is especially true for families who don't speak English at home.

That's why it's important to realize that what is on the websites at schools with large FRL populations is not necessarily all that parents are hearing. Your "poll" of several school websites was very skewed and biased towards people who likely don't even QUALIFY for this program!

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

"I did a random check of 5 middle schools and 3 K-8s and only Eckstein and Salmon Bay mention it at their website/newletter"

OK, but posting info is only one of may ways to get the info out. I received a paper application from my oldest sons middle school a couple of years back. We are not low income but they sent it home to EVERY student.

My youngest son goes to Eckstein and they sent home a paper flyer and posted it on their website.

But I'll ask again. Do we know that the district did *NOT* notify all low income families? They could require all schools to send home the application in kid mail, they could snail mail it from headquarters, they could robo call, or email, etc. Do we know what they did, or did not do, or are we just speculating?

And what incentive would the district have *NOT* to notify low income families?

Melissa Westbrook said...

SSSG, yes, I get that. I was just pointing out what was in the newsletter as well on their website. Most parents get the newsletters from their schools.

Peon, this is not a conspiracy theory. I think people were just saying out loud their experience at their own schools.

Maureen said...

I checked with our counselor and she says that in the next week or so a letter in the home language is going out from the district to eligible families who have not signed up yet.

I'm happy about that!

Anonymous said...

Nothing is "free" folks. Should I pay double so somebody else can pay nothing? What if I'm $50 a month over the FRL threshold? Am I screwed?

While I believe in subsidizing education for all, this all sounds unsustainable and unrealistic. How far will a 2.0 GPA take you toward a 4 year degree?

Am I missing something here? Maybe I am, but it seems an awful lot of public policy these days makes the statement: "If you can't be filthy rich, what the heck, be poor!"

I know how stupid that sounds, but there's a point at which people find it easier to be on welfare than busting their tails at a low paying job. Is this not more of that?

Have we just "punted" the idea of eliminating poverty in favor of targeted subsidies like these?

I may be way out to lunch, but I see a headline in about 7 years saying "Only 13% of students in the program graduated" followed by more anti-liberal, tea-party-like rants & cries of welfare fraud, etc., and a bunch of democrats running away from the program with their tails between their legs.

Again, what am I missing here? Somebody enlighten me and tell me how this is good policy for middle class and non FRL people too, who are having to absorb huge, huge increases while food, gas and energy prices are skyrocketing across the board. I'd rather see costs contained than money shifted from one family to the next. That's the problem with Obama's healthcare reform. It expands coverage, but makes middle class families pay for it without containing costs.

This sure sounds like throwing money at a problem instead of solving it. But maybe I'm just nuts. I'm certainly not P.C. on the issue, that's for sure.

WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

I was unaware of this important information. I'd be happy to distribute information outside of my local school, Eckstein, if there were posters and info handouts (for parents, students, and educators), and coordination.

Anonymous said...

My original post got swallowed in the blogosphere:

Madison actively persues eligible students to make sure that they get these applications filled out, signed, and returned. To date,65.9% of those who are eligible have returned their applications. (Data as of 5/2/2011)

Simply the fact that our administration can calculate an actual percentage means they have made tremendous efforts to seek out those eligible and make sure these students take advantage of this opportunity. They are truly trying to make a difference for these kids.

WV: They are makign a difference where the fitessat.

-ttln

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

Charlie, thanks for the link and the reminder. Just applied online for our 8th grader. Our counselor sent home the application during her 7th grade year. We qualify for FRL but I don't know if that was their sole criteria. (We're in Northshore.)