South Seattle College Expands “13th Year Promise” Scholarship Eligibility
South Seattle College began its 13th Year Promise Scholarship in 2008 to enable high school students who only dreamt that attending college was possible (due to financial hardship, grades, or other factors) has already changed the lives of many now-college-graduates during its nearly decade-long tenure. Embarking on its 10th year, South Seattle College is expanding its reach to include West Seattle High School graduates, beginning with 2018’s graduating class.
The 13th Year Promise scholarship is more than what a scholarship usually entails: a sum of money earmarked for education. Rather, this scholarship is part programmatic and part typical scholarship – the first year of college is completely free for scholarship recipients – but that’s just the start. What’s more, the scholarship provides students with robust support and intensive college preparation that together allows students to hit the ground running once they step foot on campus. For there to be meaningful benefits of such support, this all begins months before the college school year starts.
Known as the “Readiness Academy”, every 13th Year Promise Scholar participates in a host of advisory support sessions while they are still only halfway through their senior year of high school. In 2008 there was no Readiness Academy. Rather, South Seattle College’s student services led the effort only once the school year began. While undoubtedly helpful, it became obvious that more needed to be done to help 13th Year Promise Scholars achieve their full potential. Thus began the Readiness Academy.
The Academy “helps students navigate the process of the multitude of applications, placement assessments, course enrollment, and learning the ropes of college campus life even before they have graduated high school”. Midway through the school year, high school seniors can access a wide network of supportive community partners, school staff, and 13th Year program staff to achieve the goals set forth by the Readiness Academy. Once spring break rolls around, students take their first steps on South Seattle College’s campus for a full day college 101 session and seminar. Then, during summer break, those students return to South Seattle College for three days of intensive preparatory work to help them succeed during their first year at college.
With all of these aids in place, students know from the day they begin college such things like where to find the tutoring center, or which faculty members they should reach out to for guidance depending on the issue at hand. The 13th Year Scholarship program has been nothing but a resounding success. In its nine years of operation, the Scholarship has paid for the tuition of 500 students from Cleveland, Chief Sealth, and Rainier Beach high schools. Moreover, scholarship recipients “have higher rates of success than many of their classmates [and] lower rates of withdrawal before degree completion”, according to South Seattle College vice president for student services Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap. They even have higher three-year degree completion rates than their peers.
While the South Seattle College Foundation has funded the program in past years, its proven success has caught the attention – and support – of the City of Seattle. It is thanks to the help of the City that the 13th Year Promise Scholarship is able to expand its reach through Seattle Central and North Seattle colleges for the 2017-18 school year, thus expanding the number of Seattle Public Schools’ high schools able to participate.
Education throughout Seattle has already been of high quality, and with this new program you can be at ease knowing that your son or daughter has the necessary skills to succeed in college and beyond – even without the means to pay for sky-rocketing tuition costs.