WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

"Take Five" for WSU and higher education, In the News

How Washington State Makes College More Accessible

2015 Fall Commencement. Washington State University

Ensuring college is accessible and affordable are the two tenants WSU Impact was founded for. We are grateful for your advocacy in support of a college education. Being a college graduates results in more resiliency in the job market, better pay and health care for our families, and a commitment to life long learning that serves the communities where we live. Our latest blog post encourages you to read and take action in support of fully funding the State Need Grant.

How much does the cost of college factor into the decision-making of our state’s most promising young people? Apparently, it’s a lot.

In seeking opinions of voters in our state, Washingtonians overwhelmingly cited the cost of college as the biggest barrier to attending. But thanks to the efforts of alumni, higher education advocates, and our lawmakers in Olympia, there are numerous opportunities available to prospective students who need some financial assistance.

Take, for example, the College Promise scholarship. Available to students who have spent a year of their life or more in foster care, the College Promise scholarship is designed specifically to help those who typically would not have access to college funding. Students who are working toward their first bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or professional certificate can receive substantial funding toward their first two years of school in an attempt to make a college degree “universal, free, and accessible as high school.”

Another fantastic resource for students is the State Need Grant, a promise to Washington’s students that they can attend college if they want to and they work hard, not just if their families can afford it. At Washington State University, we call it the Cougar Commitment.

The Cougar Commitment helps not only make funding available to low-income residents of our state, it can actually erase the cost of college entirely. That made a huge difference for many of students who now make up the inaugural class of the Elson S. Floyd Medical School, one-third of whom are first-generation students. Largely from rural and low-income families, these students attended a four year college, often with the support of programs like Cougar Commitment. Now, they are advancing to medical school where they will learn state-of-the-art knowledge in team medicine to improve patient care and family medicine to serve communities in need. Without programs like Cougar Commitment, many of these medical students would have never been able to to take that very first step in earning their bachelors degree.WSU medical school funding

Programs Are There, Funding Sorely Needed

These opportunities are responsible for sending literally tens of thousands of Washington students onto bigger, brighter futures each year. However, without needed funding from our state, many more remain unable to achieve their dreams.

Investing in higher education for more students is an investment in our future. WSU students provide hands-on assistance to our agricultural professionals, they conduct groundbreaking medical research, and they solve real-world problems for Washington’s small businesses. As WSU alums know, Cougs go on to do great things—and anyone who wants to work hard and earn their degree at WSU should be able to do so.

In a Seattle Times article this year, the Editorial Board urged lawmakers to fully fund the State Need Grant noting that both WSU and the University of Washington “make a promise to incoming students that they have never failed to keep: Get accepted to UW or WSU and you won’t have to worry about tuition as long as you qualify for state or federal financial aid.”

“If the goal is to help more Washington youth earn a degree or complete a career training program after high school, the Legislature is not doing enough to make that happen.”

We know that our lawmakers in Olympia care deeply about higher education. However, they listen to and need to hear from their constituents about why it matters. And many graduates and alumni don’t realize how much state funding helps fulfill our alma mater’s promise to make education affordable and accessible.

In spite of the fact that many Washingtonians may not know what resources are available to them, the truth is that Washington State has a proud legacy of making college more accessible. Even WSU’s status as a land-grant university is rooted in a history of expanding college to more and more students throughout our region.

If you haven’t already, consider using our tools to immediately – in one click – reach out to your lawmakers and letting them know that funding higher education is one of the best investments we can make as a state—and that essential assistance programs like the State Need Grant are more important than ever.


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