Washington state is slated to receive substantial new funding from the American Rescue Plan to address COVID impacts and work toward an equitable recovery. A portion of those funds should be used to support a three-year Enrollment & Recovery Initiative that aims to address the lost opportunities and supports enrollment of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds in all available pathways beyond high school. This includes degree and certificate programs as well as apprenticeships and Career Launch programs. The focus must be on supporting students in the high school graduating classes of 2019-2023.
Coordinated efforts between high schools and colleges must be supported throughout the summer to ensure that students make their transition. Once enrolled at college they must receive strong wrap-around supports so they stay in school and complete their degrees or credential with labor market value.
We must help our young people learn financial aid. A concentrated effort to reach 100% completion of financial aid application forms by all high school seniors is needed. This will help students better explore their options and make informed decisions.
Many Washington students use and rely on academic advising, food and housing supports, behavioral health care, and tutoring as they work to complete their credential. The pandemic has increased the need for these services that students already told us were vital to their success. In our survey of more than 200 students, most cited several support services as the most important factors for successfully completing their credential: