Pell Institute report
Expanding Access and Opportunity – The Washington State Achievers Scholarship
In 2001, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the multi-year, multi-million dollar Washington State Achievers Scholarship program. Concerned about disparities in college participation for low-income students in the state of Washington versus their wealthier peers, the Gates Foundation partnered with the College Success Foundation (CSF), formerly the Washington Education Foundation, to provide scholarships to eligible low-income students to attain a four-year post-secondary degree. The program targets juniors in 16 Achievers High Schools, which have high levels of low-income students and are implementing school redesign. Approximately 500 students each year receive financial support to help pay for college, and mentoring and other assistance to assure their preparation for and participation in post-secondary education. By 2015, more than 5,000 low-income students will have received scholarship assistance to attend college.
Through six cohorts, 3,340 Achievers Scholars have been selected as high school juniors. Of this group, 3,010 have received the scholarship, with the remainder either not fulfilling eligibility requirements (such as completing high school) or choosing to attend a non-eligible college, frequently a four-year institution out of state. This report synthesizes the findings of research conducted on the Washington State Achievers program through Summer 2006.
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