Washington Opportunity Scholarship Launches With $50 Million Endowment

Washington Opportunity Scholarship Launches With $50 Million Endowment

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Well funded college scholarships are a premium, much more so when the economy is struggling. Economic concerns aside, two large companies – Boeing and Microsoft – have teamed up to launch the Washington Opportunity Scholarship, contributing $25 million dollars each to this fund.

Washington Opportunity Scholarship

The Washington Opportunity Scholarship will benefit state of Washington students only. The corporate gift will be matched by the state, but not right now – like many states, Washington is short on cash. Importantly, the two companies – representing two of the largest employers in the state – are encouraging other businesses to contribute to the fund as well.

The new scholarships won’t be available until after the upcoming academic year begins, but are expected to go out in December 2011. Gov. Chris Gregoire, in announcing the scholarship, also signed into law a policy that will allow state universities to set tuition as reported by “The News Tribune.” [1] Several Washington schools have put in place double-digit tuition increases, but the governor insists that low- and moderate-income families will benefit from a larger state grant endowment.

Funding for Washington students has now been expanded to allow families earning 125 percent of the state’s median income, to apply. That means that a family of four, with income near $100,000, can apply for assistance.

First In Nation

The Washington Opportunity Scholarship is the first of its kind in the nation, where public entities such as a state government and the private sector have teamed up to providing funding. This particular opportunity seeks to help students who are studying high-demand fields, just the kind of educational background employers like Microsoft and Boeing want. The two companies are making an investment in students, but should also benefit from a better trained and more diverse hiring pool.

Washington’s governor is ambitious and would like the fund to increase to $1 billion by the end of this decade. Said the governor, “With the help of our workers, legislators and businesses, we are putting our state on a path to a better economic future. We must recognize the work of the bills’ sponsors and the entire Legislature. Thanks to Boeing and Microsoft for their generous contributions to the Opportunity Scholarship Program and for their partnership and support.”

References

[1] The News Tribune; Boeing, Microsoft Give Combined $50 million in Scholarships; Jordan Schrader; June 7, 2011

[2] State of Washington; Governor Chris Gregorie; Gov. Gregoire Signs Higher Education Bills; June 6, 2011

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