Fostering Cougar Champions: Passport to College Program
WSU actively participates in Washington’s Passport to College Promise Scholarship Program, launched in 2008-09 to help students from the foster care system prepare for, attend, and succeed in college. Through the Passport program, WSU students who have been in the foster care system can access significant supports from first-year through graduation, with assistance in academic, personal, social, financial, and career areas.
Academic Supports for Passport and Governor’s Scholars
Designated support staff, including an academic advisor and a college coach, in the Academic Success and Career Center assists Passport and Governor’s Scholars to:
- Receive specialized academic advising during orientation and lead them as they explore the university and surrounding community as they settle in to college
- Enroll in College Success Leadership (UNIVERSITY 497), a three-credit course introducing skills needed to succeed in an academic environment and participate in “Critical Literacies Achievement Support Program” (CLASP) with a First Year Focus class to develop good communication skills with instructors
- Meet with support staff including a college coach regularly to review personal goals and make progress toward them
- Participate in study tables weekly during the first year, develop a study schedule and time management plan, build a health and wellness/nutritional plan, and attend wellbeing workshops regarding campus resources
- Review their financial aid package, complete a semester budget, borrow textbooks from a lending program, and fill out educational training voucher payment requests and scholarship applications
- Plan career development goals, create a resume, and attend career fairs
- Participate in social events with fellow Passport and College Success scholars
2018-2020 Legislation Expansion
The Washington state legislature expanded eligibility of the Passport to Scholarship program in March of 2018. The program is expanded to include youth who have experienced homelessness and individuals who have spent a day or more in state, federal, or tribal foster care. Students may be eligible for a supplemental scholarship and student assistance if they:
- were in state, tribal or federal foster care prior to age 21 and subsequent to the following:
- age 15 as of July 1, 2018,
- age 14 as of July 1, 2019, and
- age 13 as of July 2020.
- are a resident student, with additional verification process by the Washington Student Achievement Council if unable to establish residency because of placement in out-of-state foster care of homelessness,
- are enrolled at least half-time with an institution of higher education,
- are making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward completion of a degree,
- have verified their homelessness status with the Washington Student Achievement Council; and
- have not earned a Bachelor’s or professional degree.
Beginning July 1, 2019, unaccompanied homeless youth are eligible for the Passport to College Scholarship if they are under the age of 21 and have verified their unaccompanied homelessness status with the Washington Student Achievement Council on or after July 1 of the prior academic year. More information to come on this expansion in July 2019.
To check if a student is eligible for the Passport to College Scholarship, visit: http://www.readysetgrad.org/college/passport-foster-youth-promise-program. Other resources can be found at www.independence.wa.gov, such as the Educational Training Voucher.
The Passport to College Program partners with community offices, such as Safety Net, the Community Action Center, Volunteers of America, Treehouse, and others to ensure student success during their undergraduate career at WSU.
Campus Partnerships: Fostering Cougar Champions
The Passport to College Scholars program at WSU works with Student Support Services/TRIO to ensure academic success of all foster youth, regardless of eligibility for Passport to College Scholarship or Governor’s Scholarship.
Fostering Cougar Champions partners are comprised of academic, administrative and student affairs units at WSU including:
- Center for Civic Engagement
- Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program (CLASP)
- Cougar Health Services
- Gender Identity Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center
- Housing and Residence Life
- Multicultural Student Services
- Native American Programs
- Student Financial Services
- The Dean of Students
- The Office of Admissions
- The Office of the Provost
- The Office of the Registrar
- TRiO Student Support Services
- The Office of Undergraduate Education
- Women’s Resource Center
Washington State Residents Programs
If you would like information about these programs, contact Maria de Jesus Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org, (509) 335-8065, or in the Academic Success and Career Center, Lighty Student Services Building, Room 180 for additional assistance.
- Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) – If you are a current or former foster youth (federal, state or tribal) or were adopted from care after age 16, you could be eligible for up to $5,000 a year up to age 23 for education or training at an accredited college.
- Governor’s Scholarship for Foster Youth – Scholarships are available in amounts of $2,000 – $4,000 a year for eligible youth. Contact the College Success Foundation at 877-655-4907. Deadline for application: the first Monday in March of your senior year in high school.
- Passport to College Scholarship – The Passport to College program provide a scholarship up to $4,500 and support services to Washington residents attending eligible Washington colleges and universities. Contact the Washington State Achievement Council at 1-360-753-7800.
Passport Scholars Form Friendships, Build Teams to be Trusted
For more information, contact:
Maria de Jesus Dixon
Passport Designated Support Staff/Program Director