Seattle Promise launched in 2018 to create more equitable higher education opportunities for Seattle public school graduates.

The program is a promise to:

  • guide students on a direct path from high school to college to earn a degree or certificate and enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year college or university;
  • boost career opportunities for all students, especially first-generation and under-served populations; and,
  • prepare students to participate in our region's vibrant workforce and economy without taking on overwhelming debt.

Seattle Promise provides the first two years (or up to 90 credits) of tuition, additional financial support for books, transportation, housing, etc. to those with financial need, and personal guidance to succeed in college. All Seattle public high school graduates are eligible regardless of grade point average (GPA), income, ability or country of birth.

In today’s labor market, a post-secondary degree, credential or certificate is more important than ever in finding a living-wage job. By 2020, it’s estimated that 70 percent of jobs in Washington will require some form of post-secondary education, yet only 31 percent of high school students in Washington earn a post-secondary credential by the age of 26.

More Than a Scholarship

Seattle Promise is designed to prepare students for career success and increase the number of Seattle public high school graduates earning certificates, credentials, and degrees. The program provides financial support as well as ongoing college and career guidance for students to attend one of three Seattle Colleges (North, Central, and South).

Seattle Promise scholars receive the following services:

  • Support applying to Seattle Promise and Seattle Colleges (North, Central or South)
  • Support applying for and completing financial aid requirements
  • Full coverage of any tuition expenses remaining after other scholarships and financial aid
  • Assistance with choosing and registering for classes
  • Preparation for the transition to college
  • Guidance and mentorship through the first two years of college

Holistic Program Design

Many programs cover college tuition. Some fund school-related expenses. Few offer individual guidance and advising. Seattle Promise, by design and proven student success, combines all three.

And, just as uniquely, the program also extends the opportunity for all Seattle public high school graduates regardless of GPA, income or country of birth.

1. Tuition Scholarship

Seattle Promise covers any remaining tuition balance for up to two years (or 90 credits) at one of the Seattle Colleges after other public funding, grants or scholarships a student may be eligible to receive have been applied.

2. Individual Support & Guidance

Dedicated success specialists guide scholars from high school through college graduation offering assistance with financial aid and admissions applications, class selection and registration. Specialists also partner with college-access programs at Seattle Public Schools and the greater community. Students have increased access to advisors (100:1 ratio vs. 600:1) and meet once a quarter to develop and check-in on their educational plans and goals. Scholars have peer support becoming part of a group that share their first college experiences together and often take the same classes.

3. Financial Assistance for College Costs Beyond Tuition

Additional financial support for college costs beyond tuition including school-related expenses such as books, child care, food, housing, and transportation are available through the Seattle Promise Equity Scholarship for students with a demonstrated financial need.

The program continues to evolve as more needs are identified, including providing students with career and work experience through Opportunity Promise, a summer internship program as well as exploring transfer partnerships with four year universities.

All Seattle public high school graduates are eligible regardless of grade point average (GPA), income, ability or country of birth. Students are encouraged to start the application process the fall of their high school senior year. 

Application Requirements

Seattle Promise Scholarship Deadline
  • Seattle Promise scholarship program application
February 1, 2021
College Admissions  Deadline
February 1, 2021
Financial Aid  Deadline
  • Federal student aid (FAFSA) or Washington student aid (WASFA) application

April 15, 2021
  • Financial aid file complete with your college financial aid office
June 11, 2021

Attendance and Enrollment Requirements

After completing all application requirements, Seattle Promise scholars will attend the following events to prepare for college success.

Events and Milestones Date
Readiness Academy May 19, 21, 26 & June 2, 5, 9 2021 *students must have completed English and math placement to participate. 
Summer Bridge Program September 14 & 15
Enroll full time (min. 12 credits) Fall Quarter 2021

*To remain eligible Seattle Promise scholars are required to attend classes, be in good academic standing and meet with their advisor each quarter.

Seattle Promise is jointly funded by the city of Seattle’s education levy and from private and public partnerships through the Seattle Colleges Foundation.

Contributions will help meet the needs of Seattle Promise today and into the future when the city of Seattle’s supporting education levy sunsets after its seven-year term.

How Seattle Promise Scholarship Funding Works

Seattle Promise applies federal, state, city and private dollars to fund tuition costs and provide individual support to help students succeed in college.

Seattle Promise Funding

Federal and State Financial Aid First: All federal, state, and institutional grants and scholarships a student is eligible for are applied
Other Tuition-Specific Scholarships and Funding Second: Other tuition scholarships and funding a student is eligible for are applied
Promise Tuition Third: Remaining tuition-specific balance is paid
Equity Scholarship Fourth (for those with economic need): funding for books, supplies, transportation, and other college-related costs
Total Financial Aid Package All funds available to a student

Maximizing College Funding and Access

The total scholarship award is determined by first applying the financial aid a student is eligible for, then any other tuition-related scholarships received. Next the remaining tuition balance is funded by Seattle Promise dollars, available through the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) levy. In addition to tuition funding, students with economic need may also receive an equity scholarship to aid with books, supplies, transportation, and other college-related costs. 

This tiered approach helps maximize funding and the number of students who can access college. 

Complementing Other College Aid Programs

Seattle Promise complements other state and regional college aid programs while addressing gaps. The tiered funding model allows college aid programs focused primarily on need-based tuition support to assist students first. Seattle Promise funding is added last, filling in the gaps and providing - most distinctively and essentially - individual support for college success regardless of income, grade point average, ability or country of birth for all Seattle public high school graduates.

Seattle Promise is jointly managed by the city of Seattle, Seattle Colleges, and Seattle Public Schools. These organization are supported by Seattle’s Levy Oversight Committee, established by the city council to review and make recommendations regarding levy-funded programs including Seattle Promise. 

Seattle Colleges and the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning annually review the program's performance indicators to measure the quality and quantity of services to Seattle Promise students.

Partners logos, Seattle Colleges, Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle