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Students Speak: We Need the State Need Grant

Students Speak: We Need the State Need Grant

The State Need Grant is Washington State’s successful student aid program, which provides funding for low-and-middle income students to attend 66 higher education and career training institutions throughout the state. Currently this program serves 69,000 Washingtonians – but there is not enough funding to provide grants to over 24,000 additional eligible students.

With 740,000 job openings projected over the next five years in our state, we must close this gap and fully fund the State Need Grant to help make sure that all Washington students have a chance at a postsecondary education – their future depends on it.

Below are two student editorials which make the case for this essential piece of the budget.

State Need Grant helps students aim higher
Wenatchee World;
 May 2, 2017
By Jennifer Salazar, Wenatchee Valley College Student

Although there are many barriers to college access and success, including academic preparation, expectations, and timely counseling information, a major impediment is cost. Given the high cost of postsecondary education relative to family incomes, at least some amount of financial aid is necessary for most families. This is especially true for low-income and many first-generation students.

I am a member of this group and depend on the State Need Grant (SNG) program to help supplement my other forms of financial aid, including part-time work, loans, and personal and family savings. I will be the first member of my family to attend and graduate from college. My mom is a single parent, raising four children, and believes education is the best investment she can make in her children’s future.

I would not be able to receive a postsecondary education if it were not for the SNG program. Thanks to the financial support I will receive from the program, I have been able to attend Wenatchee Valley College and will transfer to Washington State University this fall, where I will pursue a Bachelors in Sports Science-Kinesiology, with a minor in Spanish.

The SNG program helps eligible students access higher education and attain certificates, credentials and degrees to become productive citizens. These awards assist students in the pursuit of their higher education goal at eligible colleges, universities and career schools statewide, positively impacting business and communities throughout the state.

The program helps the lowest-income undergraduate students pursue degrees, sharpen skills and retrain for new and emerging careers. Students from Washington’s lowest-income families are most affected by rising tuition costs and other barriers. They are more likely to enroll and less likely to drop out when financial aid offsets tuition increases. Grant recipients include traditional and non-traditional students, spanning all age groups.

The SNG program is central to improving educational attainment for all in Washington and closing the gaps between identified workforce needs and education and workforce skills training. The difference it makes can make all the difference in allowing eligible students to attain work-ready certificates, credentials, two- and four-year degrees and to participate in meaningful ways with their families and communities.

A postsecondary education ensures I can bring pride to my family, my community and my state. I am grateful for the support I receive from Wenatchee Valley College and appreciate the state’s continued funding for the State Need Grant. Indeed, the difference it makes can make all the difference.


Letter to Editor: The Value of the State Need Grant Is Real
The Chronicle; April 20, 2017
by Patricia Gitchel of Oakville

The cost for attaining a postsecondary certificate, credential, two- or four-year degree is increasingly out of reach for many students.  At the same time, the need for a post high school education is critical in order to meet our state’s current and projected skill and educated workforce demands.  Without a postsecondary education, it is impossible to participate in today’s economy, support a family, or enjoy the benefits of contributing to a community.  

Access to a postsecondary education is directly related to affordability. Thankfully, we have the State Need Grant program to address this issue for eligible low income students.  The State Need Grant is the state’s largest aid program, and its reach extends from traditional students to working-age adults.  

My name is Patricia J. Gitchel, I am attending Centralia College and I am a recipient of the State Need Grant. I feel very privileged to be able to receive the State Need Grant.  The grant helps me cover the costs of tuition, books and related expenses. 

The State Need Grant provides me with an opportunity to attain a degree and move forward with my career goals.  Through the support I receive from the grant, Centralia College, and TRIO, I am on a path to success.   It is difficult to balance school and work obligations. The support I receive from the State Need Grant allows me to focus on my studies, attain a degree, all the while providing greater stability in my life.

The State Need Grant provides the lifeline I need to complete my degree, and give back to the state the investment made in my education.  I am one of the lucky ones to receive support from the State Need Grant, many others are not so lucky. 

Not all eligible students receive the State Need Grant. These students are incurring debt, holding down part- and full-time jobs, and working hard to balance family, work, and school demands.   Without support from the State Need Grant, many will likely drop out, including myself, leaving school with debt. Worse yet, some will make the choice to not attend college, attain a degree, and thus have little opportunity to actively engage in the economy.

Continued support for the State Need Grant will increase access and address affordability.   It is critical to improving educational attainment in Washington, while serving first time students, as well as working-age adults. I know, I am one of them, and one who is grateful for the support I receive from the state and Centralia College.   

Learn about the number of students served by the State Need Grant in your legislative district and importantly, how many students qualify for the grant, but are unable to receive funds to advance their education. Join WSU Impact and make a difference today. 

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