Students seeking financial assistance to pursue a certificate or degree through a professional-technical program will now have the same scholarship opportunities as those planning to attend four-year institutions.
Rep. Jeff Holy introduced House Bill 1452 to expand the current Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) program to include low-income students obtaining certificates and degrees outside a typical four-year college program.
“As we continue to re-prioritize higher education, one major focus is the overall cost. We need to stop limiting access to higher education because it is too expensive,” said Holy, R-Cheney. “Expanding the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program to include low-income students going for a non-traditional technical certificate is a step in the right direction. These opportunity scholarships help students achieve their goals by fulfilling an unknown of how to pay for their education, especially when their needs aren’t structured around a four-year degree.”
The WSOS program was established in 2011 to provide scholarships to low-and middle-income resident students pursuing eligible high-demand majors in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and healthcare degrees.
“These credentialing programs create job pathways in professional sectors that are of great importance to our economy,” continued Holy. “Expanding this scholarship to technical certificates builds upon the amazing public-private partnerships the program has. Not all students have the desire to pursue four-year degrees, but deserve financial opportunities to follow their dreams through a professional-technical education.”
The bill goes into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the regular session. The Legislature adjourned March 8.