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To Help Close the Opportunity Gap, Mayor Durkan Announces New $1,000 Equity Scholarship for Seattle Promise Scholars for Expenses Like Books, Child Care, and Food        

Income-eligible students already receiving two years of free college will receive grants of $1,000 per year for non-tuition-related expenses 

Seattle (February 19, 2019) –  In her State of the City speech at North Seattle College, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced the Seattle Promise Equity Scholarship to provide $1,000 in additional funding for Seattle Promise College Tuition Program students who face financial barriers to post-secondary education. In 2017, Mayor Durkan created the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program so that all students at Seattle public schools will be eligible for two years of free college tuition at any of the three Seattle Colleges. The Seattle Promise Equity Scholarship will fund non-tuition related expenses such as books, child care, food, housing, or transportation. Approximately 41% of current students are estimated to be eligible for the new scholarship.

“We must create a more affordable future for the next generation. With the Equity Scholarship, we can do even more to knock down barriers to college and build true opportunity,” said Mayor Durkan. “As we build a City of the future, we must do more to close the opportunity gap and ensure Seattle’s kids can get the good-paying jobs of the future.”

The Seattle Promise Equity Scholarship will be given to all Seattle Promise Scholars who meet and maintain program eligibility requirements and show financial need with no additional application. Current Promise Scholars enrolled at the Seattle Colleges who meet the income criteria will be awarded the Seattle Promise Equity Scholarship for this year and receive funds by the end of March.

“In addition to worrying about how to pay for tuition, low-income students frequently struggle with hunger, rent payment, child care and commuting to school. The new 1,000 Equity Scholarship announced by Mayor Durkan will go a long way in helping remove some of these challenges so students can concentrate on their learning,” said Seattle Colleges Chancellor Shouan Pan. “I applaud the Mayor and Seattle City Council for their vision and their equity-minded leadership. Seattle Colleges faculty and staff stand ready to partner with the City, Seattle Public School, and business and community leaders to bring the Mayor’s vision for Seattle Promise to reality.”

Low-income students can face additional financial and logistical barriers to college completion including transportation, housing, or child care. Ten percent of students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s degree by the age of 25, compared with 50 percent of high-income students. Expenses such as books, transportation, and living costs can amount to 80 percent of the cost associated with college attendance.

On her second day in office, Mayor Durkan signed Executive Order 2017-14 to create the Seattle Promise College Tuition program to reduce and remove the financial barriers that keep some Seattle public high school graduates from earning a degree, credential or certificate. In November 2018, Seattle voters overwhelmingly voted to invest long term in the Seattle College Tuition Program through the Mayor’s Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise plan.

According to a Georgetown University study, by next year 70% of all jobs in Washington State will require some form of post-secondary credential.

To help expand access to affordable transportation, last year Mayor Durkan created “ORCA Opportunity,” which provides free unlimited ORCA cards for Seattle Promise Scholars as well as all Seattle Public Schools high school students.

All Seattle Public High School seniors from Cleveland, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, West Seattle, Garfield, and Ingraham high schools are eligible and encouraged to sign up for the Seattle Promise Program by February 22. Sign up for the Seattle Promise here.