Find Posts By Topic

Mayor Jenny Durkan Signs Executive Order Creating the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program

Creating Framework for Free College for Seattle Public School students, Seattle Promise Would Begin in 2018 for Current 13th Year Promise Scholarship Students


SEATTLE (November 29, 2017) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan signed an Executive Order to create the Seattle Promise College Tuition program, which will reduce and remove the financial barriers that keep some Seattle public high school graduates from earning a degree, credential or certificate. This action creates a framework for implementation, beginning with expanding the Seattle Promise College Tuition in the Fall of 2018 to provide a second year of college for current 13th Year Promise Scholarship students currently enrolled at South Seattle College.

“Making college a reality for Seattle’s public schools students is a critical first step towards creating opportunity and addressing our city’s crushing affordability crisis,” said Mayor Durkan. “The City of Seattle must play an active role in reducing and removing financial barriers that keep our high school graduates from going to college or getting the technical training. They need this education to have a shot at good, family wage jobs. This will not just be good for our students; it will be great for Seattle. It will help channel the prosperity of our thriving economy back into our community, and let us start filling thousands of job openings with our home-grown talent. Creating the Seattle Promise will build economic opportunity through education and help to make progress to reduce the opportunity gap for students of color.”

By 2020, 70% of all jobs will require post-secondary education in Washington State. Yet each year, one in four Seattle graduates do not pursue a continuing education pathway, and among low-income and students of color, this number increases to one in three.

Building off the success of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship, the Seattle Promise College Tuition program will provide two full years (90 credits) of courses for students graduating from a Seattle Public School. As part of the Executive Order, an interdepartmental team in partnership with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Seattle Colleges will develop a comprehensive framework and timeline for implementation for all Seattle Public School graduates. This plan will be developed within the first 100 days of Durkan’s administration.

“Seattle has a booming economy, generating thousands of jobs for qualified candidates each year, but many of Seattle’s young people lack the educational credentials and experiences to compete in the job market,” said Dr. Shouan Pan, Chancellor of Seattle Colleges.  “Seattle Colleges is committed to working with Mayor Durkan, the city council, and education and business partners to address this challenge.  We provide a quality education for tens of thousands of people across the city. The Seattle Promise College Tuition Program will enable us to open our doors to families and young people who don’t have the financial resources to attend college. By helping more students bridge the gap from high school to college and to the job market, we will give more young people the opportunity to thrive in college and beyond. Seattle Colleges will be a strong partner in implementing this plan.”

“Mayor Durkan’s Seattle Promise does more than just provide tuition for students – it helps to level the playing field and create greater opportunities for low-income students and students of color. We know that many of the jobs being created in the next several years in Seattle will be jobs that require a degree, credential, or certification, and we want to make sure Seattle’s students are first in line for those opportunities – whether it’s building code or building skyscrapers,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell.


Executive Order – PDF