Nimal wants to become a nurse, Sochetna a computer programmer, and Joana a detective. They and their classmates are now much more likely to achieve their dreams with the help of an innovative scholarship program offered by South Seattle Community College.
This new initiative, the 13th Year Promise Scholarship, is the first of its kind in Washington state, and gives every graduating senior in Cleveland High School's class of 2008 the opportunity to attend South tuition-free for one year, regardless of grade point, test scores or other factors. Forty-one students, almost half the high school's senior class, applied for and received the scholarship, which is funded by financial aid and/or scholarship funds raised through the South Seattle Community College Foundation.
The scholarship was created to address data from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges that shows the enormous difference just one year of college can make in terms of earnings and a student's likelihood of continuing in higher education. Similar programs have been initiated at Ventura College in California and Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma.
"We know that students who enroll in college directly from high school are more likely to succeed, but many don't continue simply because they can't afford it," said Elizabeth Pluhta, South Seattle Community College Foundation Interim Executive Director. "The 13th Year Promise Scholarship removes the financial barrier that might prevent many students from pursuing higher education."
Cleveland's multicultural and diverse student body reflects that found on the South campus, making it a natural selection as the first high school selected to participate. In the future, the Foundation hopes to expand the scholarship program to include other area high schools.
The 13th Year Scholarship recipients will be honored at a ceremony from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14 at the Alhadeff Grill on the college campus. Attendees will include scholarship recipients and their families, Cleveland High School representatives, members of the South Seattle Community College Foundation, and campus community. The event is open to the public and light refreshments will be served from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by the program from 6 to 7 p.m. RSVP at 206 764-5809 or [email protected]. Additional information may be found at www.southseattle.edu/13thyear.