More Financial Aid for Our Students

When the Washington State legislature recently passed the Workforce Education and Investment Act (originally introduced as House Bill 2158) it dramatically expanded the amount of state support for low income college students who are Washington residents. The legislation increased the amount of funding available to cover college costs -- depending upon their family income levels -- and made the grant an entitlement. The latter means that any and every person in the state who qualifies for the grant will now receive it.

Both will significantly help Evergreen students because of the large number of low income students we have and because funding will now be extended to an additional 20,000 (roughly) students across the state who qualified for the State Need Grant but for whom there no funding was available in previous years.

This expansion of the State Need Grant (now referred to as the Washington College Grant) has been received national recognition. Forbes magazine recently described it as: “one of the smartest financial aid packages in the country … enabling as many as 110,000 low- and medium-income Washington residents to attend college for free or at least at significantly lower cost.”

The Seattle Times has covered the legislation extensively, providing extensive data on how much money low income students will receive.

As we strive to be a more student-centered college, this additional financial aid will help immensely. Clearly, the cost of college is a major challenge for many students, requiring they work at jobs many hours per week just to cover their expenses. Lacking adequate funds to continue attending college is one of the major reasons students leave Evergreen and college altogether without graduating.

Last year, tuition gifts and grants from Evergreen alumni and friends generated $1.6 million in aid for our students (above and beyond state and federal grants). Expanding student support will be a major fundraising goal in the years ahead.