College Bound Scholarship
The College Bound Scholarship is a way that Washington state has found to encourage low income households to send their children to study a degree, normally a student would graduate high school and then if their parents have sufficient income go onto study at a college or university, the student whilst still in high school knows that their parents will send them on to college to get a degree, but what happens in a low income household, from an early age whilst still at high school the student knows or is told by their parents that they do not have sufficient money to send their son or daughter to college, so the student at high school makes less effort at school knowing that already they cannot access higher education.
What the Washington state College Bound scholarship does is promise all low income students at high school that they will be given a scholarship to go onto college, it's more than a promise though Washington state require high school students to submit their application for the College Bound program whilst in 7th or 8th grade, so the student knows years ahead of time that they will be going to college and should study hard.
The College Bound scholarship is only available in the state of Washington DC for students attending high school in Washington DC and who will go onto take up a place at a state college or university in Washington DC, USA, the scholarship is not available to any students from any other states in the USA and is not available for international students wishing to study abroad. The scholarship is paid annually for the entire length of the student's college education, the scholarship will cover annual tuition fees from a Washington state college or university and an allowance for buying books for your studies.
HECB Higher Education Coordinating Board
The College Bound scholarship is administered by the HECB Higher Education Coordinating Board of Washington DC and is a state funded program, this is one of the most innovative scholarship programs I have seen as students are not required to agonise over whether they might get a scholarship or not, or have to study hard in high school on the hope that they might find a scholarship and even then the scholarship might not be a full scholarship and the student would be unable to continue further years at college, the College Bound Scholarship allows students to concentrate on their high school studies safe in the knowledge that they will be going to college to study for a degree.
To encourage high school students to continue to work hard at high school, and take up their offer of a college place College Bound Scholarship applicants must sign a pledge, the pledge asks students to promise that they will do well in school and graduate high school with a cumulative high school Grade Point Average GPA of 2.0 or higher, that's a lot lower GPA then many other competitive scholarships like the Bill Gates scholarship or the Fulbright scholarship, but actually the same GPA as the McDonalds scholarship and Burger King scholarship, the student must also promise on the pledge to be a good citizen and not commit a felony, should the student commit a felony just like with a Pell grant the student may find their scholarship reduced or removed, this will depend on the felony and individual circumstances.
FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Aid
As part of the pledge students will need to apply for the FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Aid in their senior (last) year of high school, the pledge requires the student to submit a FAFSA application in a timely manner because FAFSA will assess the income of the household and how eligible the student is to state aid, note that FAFSA and the College Bound Scholarship are completely separate applications, it's a requirement of many scholarships that the student apply for FAFSA and then make the response form from FAFSA available to the scholarship granting programme in this case the College Bound scholarship.
The reason the FAFSA application must be made in a timely manner is that without the FAFSA application students will not be able to take up their College Bound scholarship at a Washington state college or university, so to avoid delays and potentially missing the start of the academic year its very important to make the FAFSA application as early as possible.
The amount of the scholarship award depends on how much is required, students can apply for any state funded college or university in Washington DC and the costs of tuition for that college or university will be paid for by the scholarship. The College Bound scholarship will cover all tuition fees plus a small book allowance for college books, if another grant is claimed by the student for instance the FAFSA application is completed and FAFSA offer a small grant to the student then the amount of the College Bound scholarship will be reduced by the amount awarded by the FAFSA grant which is a federal grant rather than a state grant like the College Bound scholarship.
Once you start attending the college or university in Washington that you have chosen the College Bound scholarship will pay the course fees directly to the university or college and they will give the student the money for books directly. The colleges and universities in Washington that can be studied at on a College Bound scholarship are all Washington state public universities or technical colleges, public four year institutions, approved independent colleges or universities or a private career school, the College Bound scholarship programme maintains a full list of approved degree granting institutions in Washington which for state run colleges and universities you won't need to refer to but for private colleges and universities its worth checking before you apply to this college or university.
Apply Whilst Still in High School in 7th or 8th Grade
When the student is in 7th or 8th grade in high school the student and the students parents must complete the College Bound scholarship application form, you can make your application online or if you wish request a paper copy of the application whichever is easier for the parents, whether you make an online application or a paper based application, parents and students are still required to sign the application, if you have requested the paper based application then simply sign the application and mail it in, if you have made an online application then you will need to mail the signature page of the online application to the HECB Higher Education Coordinating Board.
On the College Bound application form the student will need to provide their SSN Social Security Number, if the student does not yet have a SSN then the high schools SSIN State Students Identification Number can be used instead, when you receive MSP Measure of Student Progress forms your find the SSIN printed on those forms, alternatively the student can ask their high school for the students SSIN number. When the student gives their SSN to the HECB, the HECB are required to keep this number safe and not give any other agency access to the number other than the HECB.
When the student is in their final year of high school (senior year), the student has to make the FAFSA application which determines what amount of federal aid which should be given to the student, this is different to the College Bound scholarship which gives state aid (Washington state aid) to the student, it's the combination of state aid and federal aid that will make up your finance package for study at college or university and it's the student and the parents financial status that will determine the level of federal aid given. When in the students final year at high school the FAFSA application form is completed the student will need to have a SSN, by this time an SSN will have been issued to the student by the federal government.
US Citizens Only
To get the College Bound scholarship students must be US citizens or resident in the US as determined by the state aid rules governing FAFSA. Many scholarships will not allow application from home schooled students one of the other scholarships that encourages applications from home schooled students is the Burger King scholarship, if you're a home school student and applying for a College Bound scholarship then simply enter home school as the name of your current school or private school.
After the student submits their College Bound scholarship application in the 7th grade of high school (you can also apply in 8th grade but why wait to apply for the scholarship as its critical to the future success of your education), you will be notified by the HECB within six weeks ( two and half months) of making the application, if after this time the student has not received a letter from the HECB the parents of the student are encouraged to contact the HECB in case of administrative error.
The College Bound scholarship have several rules regarding the financial status of students apply for the scholarship and the students family, basically the scholarship is for low income families in order to give the student the aspiration and real opportunity of studying for a degree, the rules on who is eligible for the College Bound scholarship are as follows.
If you are eligible for a federal free lunch or a federal reduced price school lunch then you are automatically eligible to apply for the College Bound scholarship also if the students family receives basic food benefits or TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits the student is automatically eligible to apply for the scholarship, your also automatically eligible for the scholarship if the student is a foster youth or the family meets the low income standards as shown on the College Bound application, basically low income, thresholds depending on the size of the family, the bigger the family the higher level of income you are allowed to earn and still be eligible for the scholarship.
High Income Familes Not Allowed
If the students family has a higher income than allowed or the student is not eligible for the above benefits then the student cannot apply for the College Bound scholarship but should still apply for the FAFSA grant as this is a federal grant rather than a Washington state specific grant like the College Bound scholarship so applicants may still be awarded some form of grant, note that the FAFSA grant must be completed in the last year of high school (the senior year) rather than in grades seven or eight like the College Bound Scholarship.
If the student of their family are wondering what the College Bound scholarship actually mean by income it is the definition used by the USDA for determining lower cost or free lunches for school students that the HECB (body who manage the College Bound scholarship) use which is any money received on a recurring basis, that might be money paid weekly or monthly in the form of a wage or salary or yearly as in the form of alimony, the full list of money that the HECB and USDA regard as income is salaries, tips or commissions, unemployment or workers compensation from being injured or disabled at work, child support or alimony paid by a divorced husband or wife, social security money form the government, disability benefits, veterans benefits and supplemental income support as well as rental income from owning and renting out houses or apartments, cash from savings parents have in the bank or savings society and regular contributions from other persons not living in the household which is a catchall that the USDA use to mean pretty much anything that is a recurring income of some sort.
Declare Your Earnings
The earnings declared on the College Bound forms and FAFSA forms as money before any deductions like tax and insurance premiums, this is called the gross amount you earn as opposed to the net amount you earn which is after taxes and insurance, taxes on your income include but are not limited to income tax and social security tax. The size of the students family is also used in calculations of how much income the family is allowed to earn and still be eligible for the College Bound scholarship, the USDA, FAFSA and the HECB determine family as the people that the parent or guardian provide at least half of the financial support too.