UW Dream Project

Spotlight on: Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

Now that fall quarter is starting to wrap up, it’s time to fully dedicate ourselves to one of the biggest questions that our mentees have asked us since we started with them in the spring quarter: How can I pay for my college education? Many of us know, or will be learning about soon, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. But oftentimes that is not enough, especially when there is the possibility of having loans included in the financial aid package. Therefore we need to refine the initial question to this instead: How can I secure funding for college with as little debt as possible?

The Seattle Times recently published a fantastic article about the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS), which helps low- and middle-income Washington State residents earn bachelor’s degrees in high demand fields. WSOS was created by the Washington State Legislature in 2011 to address rising tuition at Washington colleges and universities. It is a public-private partnership funded initially with $5 million from the state of Washington. Boeing and Microsoft have committed $50 million combined.

This scholarship expands college financial aid to a greater group of young people beyond the current state need grant which only reaches families with 70% of the median family income.

Over 700 scholarships will be awarded to new students who will be college freshmen, sophomores or juniors in the 2013-14 academic year.  These students will receive $1,000 renewable scholarship each year to help in their pursuit of four-year degrees.

Students who qualify must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a least a 2.75 grade-point average
  • Major/plan to major in science, technology, engineering, math or health care
  • Have a family income no more than 125 percent of the median family income (up to $102,200 for a family of four)
  • Fill out the FAFSA

When students have completed enough credits to reach junior class standing (at least 90) and have submitted verification that they have been admitted into an approved high demand major as determined for 2013-14, their scholarship will be increased to $5000. Yes, $5000!

The application for the 2013-2014 academic year will be available on January 7, 2013. The deadline is February 18, 2013. For more information, check out both the Seattle Times link and the scholarship website.

To our mentees, we hope y’all take advantage of this as we begin our transition to winter quarter, where we focus on financial aid and scholarships!

Edited to add: Vincent Pham is a DP mentor who was recently named a Mary Gates leadership scholar. He is working for and researching with Scholarship Junkies, a sweet organization that can help YOU get as many scholarships as possible! Check them out!