CITY BUDGET: South Seattle College contingent campaigns for 13th Year Promise scholarship expansion

(South Seattle College photo: 13th Year scholar Blanca Olivera speaking to City Councilmembers last night)

Two major events at City Hall last night. While we were covering a Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda “focus group” meeting talking about proposed rezoning (story to come), the City Council was listening to public comment about the budget. Among those commenting: A South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) contingent there to ask the city to contribute to expansion of the 13th Year Promise scholarship program. SSC communications director Ty Swenson shares the photo and report:

It was democracy in action at a Seattle City Council public hearing at City Hall as South Seattle College students, faculty, and leadership spoke to the council about the impact of our college’s 13th Year Promise Scholarship, and encouraged passage of a proposal to expand the program to three more high schools.

Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell has submitted a budget proposal that would expand the 13th Year Promise Scholarship to additional high schools over 2017 and 2018 with city support.

Currently offered to all Rainier Beach, Chief Sealth International, and Cleveland high school graduating seniors, the 13th Year Promise Scholarship provides one year of tuition-free college at South along with support services. It has increased access to higher education for area youth, particularly those from underrepresented groups including first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color. The program began in 2008, and to this point has been funded by donations to the college’s foundation.

Speaking on behalf of the proposal to city council were South Seattle College President Gary Oertli, South Foundation Chair (and West Seattle resident) Catherine Arnold, Mathematics Instructor Heidi Lyman, and students Ken Bert and Blanca Olivera, both attending college through the 13th Year Promise Scholarship.

The potential expansion schools include West Seattle High School. The program expanded to Chief Sealth in 2011; CSIHS was the second school, and Rainier Beach was added in 2014.

2 Replies to "CITY BUDGET: South Seattle College contingent campaigns for 13th Year Promise scholarship expansion"

  • Paul October 26, 2016 (7:44 pm)

    I love what the South Seattle students are doing. There is no greater investment in our residents and economic prosperity as a state than in higher education. Kudos to Council member Bruce Harrell! 

  • 13th year promise, step closer October 26, 2016 (8:45 pm)

    I’ve been fortunate to interview students at Sealth and Cleveland for scholarships for some time. It is always gut wrenching as we cannot fund them all. The academic performance and proven ability to overcome obstacles while pursuing worthy life goals is humbling and inspiring. The 13th year program makes collrge access a reality for many. Simply put: fund it, expand it. The benefits are huge.

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