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State offers tuition relief with college scholarships

Itzel Medina, a seventh-grader at Totem Middle School, is guaranteed four years of college tuition if she maintains a 2.0 grade-point-average and stays out of trouble until she graduates from high school. - Margo Horner/The Mirror
Itzel Medina, a seventh-grader at Totem Middle School, is guaranteed four years of college tuition if she maintains a 2.0 grade-point-average and stays out of trouble until she graduates from high school.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

It takes smarts, dedication and money to get into a good college.

Well, it takes at least smarts and dedication.

This year, Washington state started a new program to help low-income students pay for college.

The College Bound Scholarship program is for students in seventh and eighth grades who are eligible to participate in the free and reduced lunch program.

To participate, eligible students must sign a pledge promising to graduate from high school, maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average and demonstrate good citizenship. Students will be disqualified if their family income status changes or if they commit a felony before graduation.

The State of Washington will pay for four years of tuition, fees and books at an in-state college for all eligible students. Currently, the state estimates that 56,000 students are eligible for the scholarship.

The scholarship is helping to fulfill the dreams of students whose families are unable to pay for college.

Itzel Medina, a seventh-grader at Totem Middle School, said she always knew she wanted to go to college, but she didn’t know how she would afford it.

“My parents don’t have a lot of money,” Medina said. “I really wanted the scholarship.”

Medina said she dreams of studying acting and one day earning a master’s degree. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, she had to sign a promise to get good grades and behave throughout high school.

“It’s a pledge that I will get a 2.0 or higher and I have to be good in high school, like have good grades and not get in trouble,” Medina said.

Since signing the pledge, Medina has already focused on not talking in class as much because she’s afraid if she gets sent into the hallway for talking, she will lose her scholarship.

While the requirements for the scholarship don’t mention talking in class, they do specify that students must be good citizens to remain eligible for the scholarship.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

For more information or to enroll in the College Bound Scholarship Program, call (888) 535-0747, visit www.hecb.wa.gov/collegebound or e-mail collegebound@hecb.wa.gov.

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