A record number of students in Skagit County awarded scholarships in 2018

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- The innovative public-private partnership known as the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) announces its newest cohort of 1,862 Scholars — 53 of whom hail from Skagit County and are eligible to receive up to $1,192,000 in scholarship support to attend eligible universities and colleges in Washington state.

“This is a fantastic outcome for our students,” said Michelle Judson, Director of the Skagit STEM Network. “2018 was a record year for the number of Skagit students being accepted into the program (13 in 2016, 40 in 2017, 53 in 2018). This was also the first year that students from every school district in Skagit were awarded a scholarship. I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the College and Career Counselors in each high school. They encouraged and supported students applying for the scholarship and did an outstanding job.”

“We are thrilled to support this cohort of Washington state students ready to pursue a pathway to the jobs our economy needs,” said Naria Santa Lucia, executive director of WSOS. “Our unique suite of student support services coupled with financial support will prepare these students to be the future of Washington’s workforce.”

This cohort of scholarship recipients represents the seventh since WSOS was first created in 2011. The scholarship provides up to $22,500 in financial aid along with innovative student support services designed to reduce barriers for students from low and middle-income backgrounds to pursue a high-demand science, technology engineering, math (STEM) or health care degree and launch a career in Washington state.

This year’s applicant pool represents the most competitive yet with nearly 5,000 applications submitted – 1,000 additional applicants than the year prior. Local STEM Networks, in partnership with the statewide nonprofit Washington STEM, have helped raise awareness of WSOS in communities throughout the state.

Supporting STEM education across the state is critical to Washington’s future economy. Every region in Washington continues to grapple with a shortage of students graduating with the STEM degrees and training needed to meet employer demand. The unique model of private sector investment from companies like Microsoft and Boeing, matched dollar-for-dollar by the state of Washington is helping fill the gap; 92% of 2016 graduates were employed in their field or pursuing an advanced degree within nine months.

WSOS has supported more than 6,700 Scholars from every county and legislative district in Washington state to date. WSOS will serve 16,000 by 2025 thanks to robust public and private support.