As the state administrator of the College Bound Scholarship program, I agree with the Herald on the importance of tracking College Bound student progress to gauge the program's effectiveness in educating more Washingtonians.
We are collaborating with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and with higher education institutions to monitor student progress. Early indications are College Bound students are admitted to four-year institutions at a higher rate than other low-income peers. This suggests they have received the message that preparation beyond the program's minimum requirement is necessary. Although a 2.0 grade-point average is the absolute minimum for program eligibility, students also must be accepted into an approved college program to receive the scholarship. Four-year colleges often require higher academic standards, while community and technical colleges are available as well.
Students must meet the income standard when they apply, and this is verified each year prior to receipt of the scholarship. Students whose circumstances have changed will be evaluated for the maximum financial aid package they are eligible for -- as they have been encouraged to apply early for other aid. Our state's continued economic health depends on increasing educational attainment, but many families lack the financial means to achieve that goal. Programs such as College Bound help make the dream possible.
Rachelle Sharpe, Higher Education Coordinating Board