Seattle Promise and the 13th Year Program
The Seattle Promise Program is a new, government-funded scholarship program, modeled after and incorporating Seattle’s existing 13th Year Program. The 13th Year Program was instated in 2008 to help more Seattle high school students enroll in and graduate from city colleges. The program focused on increasing access to higher education for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation college students.
The 13th Year Scholarship program guarantees qualified students free college in Seattle for their first year of school, as well as a host of services designed to help them succeed. Since its beginning 2008, the 13th Year Program has been funded by private donations, but the recent and continuing expansion of this program, now named the Seattle Promise Program, will be funded by the city’s new tax on soda.
Passing the Tipping Point
The innovative 13th Year Program was founded on research from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. This research demonstrated a clear “tipping point”—the point at which a student is likely to earn a living wage and/or continue pursuing their higher education. The tipping point was discovered to be high school graduation plus one year of college.
Before this critical point in a student’s educational timeline, he or she may not find the resources or motivation to continue higher education, and he or she might not be able to get a job that pays a living wage. The 13th Year Program sought to get students past this tipping point and improve their chances of graduating from college and/or earning a living wage.
The first class to benefit from the 13th Year Program was the Cleveland High School Class of 2008. From there, the program expanded to Chief Sealth International High School (2011), followed by Rainer Beach High School (2014). The class of 2011 at these schools also benefitted from a new program called the Readiness Academy. This extra level of assistance was added to the program to further increase students’ success in transitioning from high school to college.
Readiness Academy offers 13th Year Scholars a host of services to help them through the transition to college from high school, including testing workshops, campus field trips, “College 101” courses, help with the FAFSA and college application, and more. The Readiness Academy also includes the program’s week-long Bridge Program offered in the summer prior to each fall start date, which is a specially-tailored college orientation each 13th Year Scholar receives.
Seattle Promise Program Expansion 2018
Since its inception in 2008, the 13th Year Program has applied to three local high schools: Cleveland, Rainer Beach, and Chief Sealth International, and it has been funded primarily by private donations. Graduates from these schools have been eligible for one year of free tuition at just one Seattle college: South Seattle College.
But the relatively new scholarship program was always expected to increase in scope. Former Mayor Ed Murray began the process of expansion by setting in motion a plan to allocate city operational funds to the scholarship program.
In 2018, new Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan unveiled her plans for a new Seattle Promise Program, which would incorporate but significantly expand upon the city’s existing 13th Year Program. Within her first 24 hours in office, Durkan pledged to make two years of community college free for all Seattle Public School graduates (Seattle Times). This would constitute a major expansion of the program’s current offering of one year (45 credits) free college in Seattle for just a portion of Seattle’s high school graduates.
In November of 2017, Durkan signed an executive order giving city staffers until March 8, 2018 to develop a framework for the program (including how the program would be funded). Durkan aims to fulfill the promise of free college in Seattle by the year 2020.
Seattle Promise Program Rollout
The new Seattle Promise is beginning to unroll, beginning with additional free college in Seattle for those students who already qualify for the 13th Year Program. These students—graduating seniors from Cleveland, Rainer Beach and Chief Sealth International high schools—who are enrolled in the 13th Year Promise this year are now eligible for a 14th year of free education.
Who is Eligible for Free College in Seattle?
With the new Seattle Promise Program, all Seattle Public School graduates are eligible for the scholarship, regardless of academic background or financial need. While 13th Year was previously available to Cleveland, Rainer Beach, and Chief Sealth high schools, Seattle Promise will expand to include Garfield, Ingraham, and West Seattle high schools once fully implemented.
The program currently applies to both documented and undocumented students who are:
- Current 13th Year Scholars at South Seattle College;
- Seniors at Cleveland, Rainer Beach, Chief Sealth, and West Seattle High Schools (South Seattle College);
- Seniors at Garfield High School (Seattle Central College); and
- Seniors at Ingraham High School (North Seattle College).
Free College in Seattle by 2020
Mayor Durkan’s goal is for the program to provide two full years of college at Seattle city colleges for all public school graduates by the year 2020. While this expansion will require a major source of funding, much of that will come from a new tax proposed by Ed Murray while he was in office. The new tax on sweetened beverages has allowed the city to earmark $1.38 million dollars for the program, according to the Seattle Times. For public school students in Seattle, this new program could mean brighter futures and fewer barriers to entry especially considering the expected and continued rising costs of college.
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College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.