Frequently Asked Questions

How was the Seattle Promise program developed?

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 thriving, college going culture, and a local workforce ready for our region's careers.

The program, informed and inspired by South Seattle College's 13th Year scholarship, will expand 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.

Who oversees Seattle Promise?

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

How is Seattle Promise funded?

For 2018-19 Seattle Promise is jointly funded by the city of Seattle and Seattle Colleges. The city of Seattle is using both general funds and revenue from the Sweetened Beverage Tax to support the program.

Beyond 2018-19, the funding structure for the program will include funding through the city of Seattle’s education levy for the seven years of the levy and from private and public partnerships.

There is a need for contributions to establish an endowment fund that can sustain the Seattle Promise today and into the future when the city of Seattle’s supporting education levy sunsets after its seven-year term.

Who is eligible for Seattle Promise?

Student eligibility is determined by high school enrollment. For the graduating class of 2019, seniors* at the following schools will be eligible to apply for Seattle Promise: Cleveland, Chief Sealth, Garfield, Ingraham, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle. They will begin their studies with the Seattle College (North, Central, South) partnered with their high school in Fall 2019. (View a table of high schools and their partner college.)

Going forward, students at ALL Seattle Public High Schools’ in the graduating class of 2020 will be eligible for the Seattle Promise. They will begin their studies at the college of their choice (North Seattle College, Seattle Central College or South Seattle College) in fall 2020.

*does not include students on an international visa.

Will students be able to go to any of the three Seattle Colleges?

For the 2018-19 academic year, students will be required to attend the Seattle College partnered with their high school. Going forward, students at ALL Seattle Public High Schools in the graduating class of 2020 will be eligible for the Seattle Promise. They will begin their studies at the Seattle College of their choice in fall 2020.

Are there plans for Seattle Promise to expand to 4-year institutions?

Seattle Promise is currently focused on guaranteeing students 90 college credits at Seattle Colleges. The city of Seattle continues to work with partners to explore how to reduce barriers for students and increase educational opportunities, but no plans are in place at this time to expand the Seattle Promise to four-year institutions.

What if I want to go to another Seattle College than I am assigned?

Currently the Seattle Promise program offers funding for up to 90 credits of tuition toward a student’s first associate degree to be used at a participating Seattle College (North, Central, South). These scholarships cannot be transferred to other institutions.

Can I transfer to the University of Washington after participating in Seattle Promise?

Seattle Promise students are eligible to apply to transfer to the 4-year institution of their choice, however the Seattle Promise scholarship can only be used at one of the three participating Seattle Colleges (North, Central, South).

Can I transfer from one Seattle College to another?

Seattle Promise scholarships are not yet transferable within the Seattle Colleges. Beginning in fall 2020, students will be eligible to transfer from one Seattle College to another and retain their Seattle Promise funding.

I earned college credits in high school through Running Start or another program. Am I eligible for Seattle Promise?

Seattle Promise will fund up to 90 credits toward a student’s first associate degree. Students who participated in Running Start and/or who earned college credits while in high school are eligible for the program if they have earned fewer than 90 credits and have not yet completed their first associate degree.

How do I get started?

Contact the student success specialist who is partnered with your high school. Apply by February 15 of each year.

Will Seattle Promise fund developmental education courses if I need them?

Yes! Seattle Promise will fund required developmental education courses. These credits do apply toward the 90 credit limit, and students should work with the Financial Aid office toward the end of their program to explore additional funding options (if needed).

What happens if I don’t earn 90 credits in two years?

Seattle Promise funding will stop once a student earns 90 credits or is enrolled for two years. Students who don’t earn 90 credits in the two years they’re in the program should work with the Financial Aid office toward the end of their program to explore additional funding options (if needed).

My senior is graduating in 2019 from a Seattle Public High School that is not one of the six current partner schools. Are they eligible for Seattle Promise funding?

Seattle Promise is phasing in over two years, and not all high schools are immediately covered. Seniors in the graduating class of 2019 at a current partner high school are eligible to participate in the program. Seniors at other high schools are encouraged to work with the Financial Aid offices at the colleges they’re interested in attending to explore the aid packages they are eligible to receive.