About

The Promise

Seattle Promise launched in 2018 to create more equitable higher education opportunities for Seattle public school graduates.

The program is a promise to:

  • guide students onto a direct path from high school to college to graduation with a degree, certificate, or transfer to a four-year college or university;
  • boost career opportunities for all students, especially first-generation and under-served populations; and,
  • prepare students to participate in our region's vibrant workforce and economy without taking on overwhelming debt.

The program provides the first two years (or up to 90 credits) of tuition, additional financial support for books, transportation, housing, etc. to those with financial need, and personal guidance to succeed in college. All Seattle public high school graduates are eligible regardless of grade point average (GPA), income or country of birth.

The Need

In today’s labor market, a post-secondary degree, credential or certificate is more important than ever in finding a living-wage job. By 2020, it’s estimated that 70 percent of jobs in Washington will require some form of post-secondary education, yet only 31 percent of high school students in Washington earn a post-secondary credential by the age of 26.

More Than a Scholarship

Seattle Promise is designed to prepare students for career success and increase the number of Seattle public high school graduates earning certificates, credentials, and degrees. The program provides financial support as well as ongoing college and career guidance for students to attend one of three Seattle Colleges (North, Central, and South).

Seattle Promise scholars receive the following services:

  • Support applying to Seattle Promise and Seattle Colleges (North, Central or South)
  • Support applying for and completing financial aid requirements
  • Full coverage of any tuition expenses remaining after other scholarships and financial aid
  • Assistance with choosing and registering for classes
  • Preparation for the transition to college
  • Guidance and mentorship through the first two years of college

Program Design

Many programs cover college tuition. Some fund school-related expenses. Few offer individual guidance and advising. Seattle Promise, by design and proven student success, combines all three.

And, just as uniquely, the program also extends the opportunity for all Seattle public high school graduates regardless of GPA, income or country of birth.

1. Tuition Scholarship

Seattle Promise covers any remaining tuition balance for up to two years (or 90 credits) at one of the Seattle Colleges after other public funding, grants or scholarships a student may be eligible to receive have been applied.

2. Individual Support & Guidance

Dedicated success specialists guide scholars from high school through college graduation offering assistance with financial aid and admissions applications, class selection and registration. Specialists also partner with college-access programs at Seattle Public Schools and the greater community. Students have increased access to advisors (100:1 ratio vs. 600:1) and meet once a quarter to develop and check-in on their educational plans and goals. Scholars have peer support becoming part of a group that share their first college experiences together and often take the same classes.

3. Financial Assistance for College Costs Beyond Tuition

Additional financial support for college costs beyond tuition including school-related expenses such as books, child care, food, housing, and transportation are available through the Seattle Promise Equity Scholarship for students with a demonstrated financial need.

The program continues to evolve as more needs are identified, including providing students with career and work experience through Opportunity Promise, a summer internship program as well as exploring transfer partnerships with four year universities.

Program Requirements

Seattle public high school seniors are encouraged to start the application process the fall of their senior year.

Financial Aid  Deadline
  • Federal student aid (FAFSA) or Washington student aid (WASFA) application
January 15, 2020 Recommended
April 15, 2020 Final
  • Financial aid file complete with your college financial aid office
June 1, 2020
Seattle Promise Scholarship Deadline
February 15, 2020
College Admissions  Deadline
February 15, 2020

After completing all application requirements, Seattle Promise scholars will attend the following events to prepare for college success.

Events and Milestones Date
Readiness Academy May 20 & 27 2020
Summer Bridge Program Late Summer 2020
Enroll full time (min. 12 credits) Fall Quarter 2020

*To remain eligible Seattle Promise scholars are required to attend classes, be in good academic standing and meet with their advisor each quarter.

Program Funding

Seattle Promise is jointly funded by the city of Seattle’s education levy and from private and pubic partnerships through the Seattle Colleges Foundation.

Contributions to establish an endowment fund will sustain the Seattle Promise today and into the future when the city of Seattle’s supporting education levy sunsets after its seven-year term.

History of Seattle Promise

In 2018, Seattle Colleges partnered with the city of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools to launch Seattle Promise, a scholarship program focused on providing college access, success, and completion with the overarching mission of building a local thriving, college-going culture that creates a workforce ready for our region's careers.

The program, informed and inspired by South Seattle College's 13th Year scholarship, expanded in reach and impact with the passing of the Families and Education levy in November 2018.

In 2020, Seattle Promise will expand to accept graduates from six to all seventeen Seattle public high schools. These graduates will receive up to two years (or 90 credits) of free tuition, plus additional funding for low income students who need assistance with books and other expenses through a new equity scholarship and increased support through concentrated academic counseling, internship opportunities, emerging college transfer partnerships, and more.

Program Partners and Organization

Seattle Promise is jointly managed by the city of Seattle, Seattle Colleges, and Seattle Public Schools. These organization are supported by Seattle’s Levy Oversight Committee, established by the city council to review and make recommendations regarding levy-funded programs including Seattle Promise. 

Seattle Colleges and the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning annually review the program's performance indicators to measure the quality and quantity of services to Seattle Promise students.

Partners logos, Seattle Colleges, Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle