10 years ago, top leaders in state government, industry and education worked together to build the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS)—a first-of-its-kind workforce development program dedicated to championing Washington students for Washington jobs. Since 2011, WSOS has worked to remove financial barriers for students from diverse backgrounds and create pathways into high-demand, high-paying jobs through scholarships and comprehensive support services.
10 years ago, our Scholars filled classrooms and libraries, pouring into their studies with dreams of bright futures and hope for what lay ahead.
Today, our Scholars fill hospitals as doctors and nurses. You’ll find them at the cutting-edge of science and technology as coders, mathematicians, biologists and the environmental scientists. They are engineering in every sector from medicine to manufacturing, agriculture to aerospace.
“WSOS has allowed me to attend school without stressing about tuition costs and, in addition, makes me feel encouraged as a young woman of color to continue pursuing a career in a STEM field.” -Baccalaureate Scholarship recipient
WSOS is a proven model for addressing the state’s workforce challenges with transparent, measurable outcomes. We work to create a college-to-career pipeline that provides opportunities for women, first generation college students and students of color. Our Scholars are 56% women, 72% students of color and 71% are first generation college students.
Opportunity Scholars graduating from the Baccalaureate Scholarship (BaS) earn two-times what their family made when they entered college, just five years after their graduation. Also, 79% of BaS Scholars graduate within six years, compared to a national six-year graduation rate of 61% for public institutions and 67% for private institutions.
Opportunity Scholars in our Career and Technical Scholarship (CTS) are two-times as likely to earn a credential than their peers and typically earn three-times what their family made when they entered college, within one year of graduating.
The Graduate Scholarship (GRD) welcomed its first cohort of Opportunity Scholars in 2021. Five out of the eight Scholars are already serving as registered nurses in a medically underserved or health professional shortage area.
Our 2021 Legislative Report is now available. This annual report provides an overview of the demographic, gender, socioeconomic, age and regional characteristics for all Opportunity Scholars since the scholarship was first created in 2011.
The report demonstrates how our public-private partnership model continues to build pathways to high-demand industries and improve student outcomes for low- and middle-income Washington state students.