Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Partnership with South Seattle College offers Grads a Promising Start
    Posted on 06/09/2017
    Three student at South's Summer Bridge program

    Partnership with South Seattle College offers Grads a Promising Start

    South Seattle College is expanding the number of Seattle Public Schools high schools able to participate in its college scholarship program.

    The 13th Year Promise Scholarship, which is open to all graduates from participating high school regardless of grades, income, or other factors, will expand to include West Seattle High School graduates beginning Spring 2018.

    “I am deeply grateful to South Seattle College’s commitment to our students and ensuring the dream of college is a reality for so many,” said Superintendent Nyland.

    The scholarship provides one year tuition for any type of course work from transfer degrees to career training. But this scholarship is a larger investment than simply paid tuition.

    “We started small in 2008 with one school—Cleveland—so we could ensure success as we grew the scholarship. As our reach has grown, it has helped us learn how to help students be successful. This isn’t just about tuition. We can’t just throw money at students,” said Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, the South Seattle College vice president for student services.

    13th Year Scholars at Summer BridgeThe strength of South Seattle College’s promise scholarship program is the commitment to full inclusivity and robust support of the Readiness Academy that acts as an intensive college prep and student support system that extends through their first year.

    Every 13th Year Promise Scholar is required to participate in a full suite of advisory support sessions that begin when the students are about midway through their senior year in high school. The Readiness Academy is all about helping students ease the transition from high school to college.

    “Our challenge is to find the kids who don’t think of college as an option and help change their mindset. Show them that they can apply and succeed in college,” said Julius Moss, the South Seattle College 13th Year Scholarship Program assistant director.

    In the early days of The 13th Year program, the college’s student services staff took steps to expand the scholarship program to include holistic student supports. The Readiness Academy helps students navigate the process of the multitude of applications, placement assessments, course enrollment, and learning the ropes of college campus life even before they have graduated high school.

    Starting in January, high school seniors can tap into the supportive network of community partners and school staff and 13th Year program staff to succeed at these tasks. Then during spring break, students come the college campus for a day-long college 101 session. Over the summer, the students come back to South for a three-day intensive jump start focused on how to successfully navigate their first year.

    This all helps them hit the ground running come the start of fall classes. They know where the tutoring center is, they have met faculty, and come to their first class knowing how the course syllabus will inform their class sessions.

    This extra attention to new students is especially beneficial for students who are first in their families to attend college but the college is seeing benefits for all students.

    Through its 13th Year program, the college is expanding academic and social support for new students. This additional support is vital to helping underrepresented students, many who may not have a family history of higher education participation. It’s also changing the way the college supports new students and improves outcomes for all students.

    “The college is asking, ‘How do we onboard our students?’ ‘How do we help them acclimate to college life?’ This is approach works with 13th Year scholars, but it also works for all students,” said Rimando-Chareunsap.

    Rimando-Chareunsap and Moss know this approach is working because the scholarship recipients have higher rates of success than many of their classmates. They have lower rates of withdrawal before degree completion and higher degree three-year completion rates than their peers.

    The nine-year-old scholarship program, which is fully endowed by the South Seattle College Foundation, has paid for the first year of college for 500 students from Cleveland, Chief Sealth, and Rainier Beach high schools.

    This year, the success of the program attracted the support of the City of Seattle, which has given the funding to expand the promise scholarship during the 2017-18 school year through Seattle Central and North Seattle colleges.

    Over the next year, Julius Moss defines success as strengthen the partnership with Seattle Public Schools and the city.

    “I don’t want to see our community lose this opportunity to invest in the next generation and help them be successful in Seattle. This partnership with the district and city is an investment in the youth of our city,” said Moss.

    As Seattle Public Schools seniors complete their last exams and try on their graduation regalia, many experience excitement and joy alongside the uncertainty that often accompanies major life transitions. District partnerships, such as The 13th Year program, take aim to ease this type anxiety and prepare every student for life after high school.

    Read more about what Seattle Public Schools is doing to eliminate opportunity gaps.

    Read more about South Seattle College's 13th Year Promise Scholarship.