February 2024: WA’s college decision date extended

Director’s Note

I hope you’ve had a chance to rest and reflect during Black History Month.

I just finished moderating a Black History Month panel for Gates Foundation employees that featured Dr. Cynthia Dillard from Seattle University’s College of Education and Kelvin Dankwa from Seattle Public Schools’ Office of African American Male Achievement. I left so inspired by the work these two and all of you are doing to create opportunities for students who face the biggest barriers in their education journeys.

Speaking of feeling inspired, we wrapped up the second meeting of our Education Roundtable last week, which is led by Dr. Tammy Campbell at The Scholar First. We grappled with hard things as we continue to face new challenges supporting students in their transition from K-12 to postsecondary, with FAFSA completion being an even harder uphill climb.

Students spoke their truths about the struggle to even complete the form, but also shared their thoughts on how we can continue to support students, families, and district and postsecondary staff. Students also provided eye-opening insights about how we should really be defining postsecondary success.

At the Education Roundtable meeting, everyone was talking about the bit of good news we got from Washington’s public four-year colleges, which you can read more about below.

It’s been a busy but fruitful month, and we’ve got a lot planned for March, when we’ll announce the regional partnerships selected for our Horizons regional grant program. Stay tuned!

Angela Jones

Director, Washington State Initiative

Spread the word: Washington’s college decision date extended

We know this year’s FAFSA rollout has been frustrating for counselors, families, and students – so we’re glad to have a little good news from Washington state to share. The public four-year colleges just announced that they pushed back their college decision date to June 1.

  • Further, Washington’s independent, not-for-profit, private colleges and universities are committed to working with new and continuing students to provide extra financial aid application support – and many have added flexibility around college decision deadlines. Prospective students and families can access FAFSA resources at the Independent Colleges of Washington website.
  • Look for similar communications and answers to come from Washington’s community and technical colleges in the near future.

What this means: For students applying to college for fall 2024 admissions, many now have until June 1 to decide whether or not to accept an admission offer from a Washington state college.

  • Colleges are still waiting on financial aid information from the U.S. Department of Education, but should be getting that in mid-March.
  • Now, a student has more time to see what financial aid packages are available at the schools they want to attend – and make a decision that works best for them.
  • As a bonus, Washington state has one of the most generous state financial aid programs in the country.

The bottom line: Despite the extended deadline, students should still fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible (or the WASFA if they don’t qualify for federal aid). If families need help, there are high school counselors, community-based organizations, and college admission offices they can reach out to.

  • We know high school students want to continue their education after graduation. It’s now up to all of us to help them complete this important step.
  • “We want Washington students and families to know we are here to support them,” Ruben Flores, executive director of the Council of Presidents, told the Washington state legislature when announcing this extension.

Read more: Washington’s Public Four-Year College and Universities Extend College Decision Day

New Webinar: How Washington state is navigating the FAFSA delay

Speaking of FAFSA, the League of Education Voters is hosting a free webinar to discuss the steps Washington state institutions are taking to help students understand and manage the financial aid delays.

  • Hear from leaders representing Washington’s public four-year colleges, our community and technical colleges, and private colleges – along with the Washington Student Achievement Council.
  • Live Spanish interpretation and closed captioning in English will be provided.

Register today: How Our Institutions are Accommodating and Navigating the Delay in Higher Education Financial Aid for 2024

Dual credit programs increase postsecondary enrollment

Washington state has worked to improve access to dual credit programs, which introduce students to college and career pathways and help them earn college credit while still in high school – all at low or no cost.

  • Leaders in our state continue to ask a key question: Are these programs helping students take the next step after graduation?
  • That’s what Washington state’s Education Research and Data Center (ERDC) explored in a new report.

What they found: ERDC found that high school students who participated in a dual credit program were much more likely to enroll in a two- or four-year degree program immediately after graduating (60% vs. 30%). However, direct enrollment rates – meaning a student enrolled in a postsecondary program within a year of graduating – varied greatly by dual credit type.

  • Direct postsecondary enrollment rates were highest for Running Start students, at 75%.
  • Meanwhile, 56% of students who participated in Career and Technical Education Dual Credit directly enrolled in a postsecondary program – the lowest of any dual credit type.

Why it matters: It’s clear that dual credit programs put students on a successful path toward their post-high school goals. All students deserve equitable access to these programs, and we need to keep evaluating what programs are working – and for which students.

Read more: Postsecondary Enrollment Outcomes for Students who Enroll in Dual Credit

Seattle Reign honors Black History Month

Ahead of their 2024 season, local professional women’s soccer team Seattle Reign is honoring the Black Future Co-Op Fund and its grantees during Black History Month.

  • The Black Future Co-Op Fund has been a Seattle Reign community partner since the nonprofit launched in 2020. The team has worn the Black Future Co-Op Fund logo on the front of their jersey the last three seasons.
  • The Black Future Co-Op Fund is also a grantee of our Community Engagement team.

In their first profile, Seattle Reign highlighted TAF, a Black Future Co-Op Fund grantee.

Meet BIPOC ED Coalition co-founder Victoria Santos

After launching the BIPOC ED Coalition in 2020, Victoria Santos continues to lead the collaborative of 240+ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) nonprofit leaders working to promote wellness and restore resources in local communities.

  • “I’m inspired by our BIPOC leaders, and I’m inspired by the challenge of advancing this work in a way that centers our humanity,” Victoria shared in a Q&A posted last year on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods blog.

The BIPOC ED Coalition, a Community Engagement grantee, focuses on giving BIPOC leaders “purposeful spaces for collective healing.”

  • Last week, the BIPOC ED Coalition observed a quiet week, looking inward to focus on celebrating Black History Month in “meaningful and restorative ways.”
  • Victoria is also interested in making sure reflections on Black history include a look to the future: “We honor both our ancestors and our descendants, and we carry power and healing within us that will benefit future generations.”

Read more: Reimagining Black History Month: Victoria Santos

Reminder: We’re looking for a Limitless Learning Network Manager

Map of Limitless Washington State Partnerships locations: K-12 school districts and Higher education institutions

We are looking for a permanent Limitless Learning Network Manager. Could that be your organization? Check out our website to learn more about the opportunity.

What We’re Reading