UW News

November 8, 2021

US Department of Education renews five-year, $1.9M grant for University of Washington Educational Talent Search program

UW students

A UW program that helps Washington students earn college degrees received a nearly $1.9 million grant to continue.University of Washington

As students resume in-person classroom education, University of Washington staff with the Educational Talent Search (ETS) program also move back into 14 partner middle and high schools in six Washington school districts, helping them gain the skills and confidence to pursue a college degree.

In fall 2021, the U.S. Department of Education renewed a five-year grant to ETS for $1,891,700 to continue the work.

Located within the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D), ETS is one of five long-standing TRIO programs and aims to promote educational opportunities for limited-income or first-generation students. The program provides guidance, access to and information on the processes of college admissions, financial aid and scholarships available for post-secondary study. ETS exposes students to the college environments with campus visits, cultural enrichment activities and career exploration.

Research shows that students who participate in college access programs like ETS are more likely to earn their high school diploma and pursue their postsecondary education than their peers who do not participate in similar programs. This year, 682 Washington students will participate in the UW ETS program.

“I know these programs work and not just from the numbers. I participated in college access programs when I was in high school, and now I have my master’s degree in education and work at UW,” said ETS Director Dina Ibarra. Ibarra participated in the Upward Bound program as a teenager and went on to get her degrees from Washington State University.

Students who participate in ETS must meet specific criteria to qualify: They must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, be income eligible as determined by federal low-income standards, or potentially be the first in their family to attend college. Two-thirds of program students need to meet all three of the criteria to participate. ETS is one of several college access programs for underrepresented students at the UW.

“College access is a major part of our work in OMA&D. Our goal is to put more underrepresented and underserved students on the pathway to higher education. We support students before they get here, while they are attending UW and when they become alumni,” said Rickey Hall, vice president of OMA&D and university diversity officer. “One of the most important things college access programs do is show middle and high school students that they can get to and be successful on a college campus. For some students, the first time they step foot on a college campus is through a trip with the ETS.”

The new ETS grant began September 2021 and is funded through August 2026. For more information about the Educational Talent Search program at the UW visit https://www.washington.edu/omad/educational-talent-search/.

For more information, contact Eric Moss at ericmoss@uw.edu.