Search

Chapter 28B.117 RCW

PASSPORT TO COLLEGE PROMISE PROGRAM

RCW Sections

28B.117.005Findings -- Intent.
28B.117.010Program created -- Purpose.
28B.117.020Definitions.
28B.117.030Program design and implementation -- Student eligibility -- Supplemental scholarship and student assistance.
28B.117.040Identification of eligible students and applicants -- Duties of institutions of higher education -- Duties of the department of social and health services.
28B.117.050Internet web site and outreach program.
28B.117.060Program of supplemental educational transition planning for youth in foster care -- Contract with nongovernmental entity.
28B.117.070Reports -- Recommendations.
28B.117.900Construction -- 2007 c 314.
28B.117.901Expiration of chapter.
28B.117.902Short title -- 2012 c 163.


28B.117.005
Findings — Intent. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

(1)(a) The legislature finds that in Washington, there are more than seven thousand three hundred children in foster family or group care. These children face unique obstacles and burdens as they transition to adulthood, including lacking continuity in their elementary and high school educations. As compared to the general population of students, twice as many foster care youth change schools at least once during their elementary and secondary school careers, and three times as many change schools at least three times. Only thirty-four percent of foster care youth graduate from high school within four years, compared to seventy percent for the general population. Of the former foster care youth who earn a high school diploma, more than twenty-eight percent earn a high school equivalency certificate as provided in RCW 28B.50.536 instead of a traditional high school diploma. This is almost six times the rate of the general population. Research indicates that holders of high school equivalency certificates tend not to be as economically successful as the holders of traditional high school diplomas. Only twenty percent of former foster care youth who earn a high school degree enroll in college, compared to over sixty percent of the population generally. Of the former foster care youth who do enroll in college, very few go on to earn a degree. Less than two percent of former foster care youth hold bachelor's degrees, compared to twenty-eight percent of Washington's population generally.

     (b) Former foster care youth face two critical hurdles to enrolling in college. The first is a lack of information regarding preparation for higher education and their options for enrolling in higher education. The second is finding the financial resources to fund their education. As a result of the unique hurdles and challenges that face former foster care youth, a disproportionate number of them are part of society's large group of marginalized youth and are at increased risk of continuing the cycle of poverty and violence that frequently plagues their families.

     (c) Former foster care youth suffer from mental health problems at a rate greater than that of the general population. For example, one in four former foster care youth report having suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder within the previous twelve months, compared to only four percent of the general population. Similarly, the incidence of major depression among former foster care youth is twice that of the general population, twenty percent versus ten percent.

     (d) There are other barriers for former foster care youth to achieving successful adulthood. One-third of former foster care youth live in households that are at or below the poverty level. This is three times the rate for the general population. The percentage of former foster care youth who report being homeless within one year of leaving foster care varies from over ten percent to almost twenty-five percent. By comparison, only one percent of the general population reports having been homeless at sometime during the past year. One in three former foster care youth lack health insurance, compared to less than one in five people in the general population. One in six former foster care youth receive cash public assistance. This is five times the rate of the general population.

     (e) Approximately twenty-five percent of former foster care youth are incarcerated at sometime after leaving foster care. This is four times the rate of incarceration for the general population. Of the former foster care youth who "age out" of foster care, twenty-seven percent of the males and ten percent of the females are incarcerated within twelve to eighteen months of leaving foster care.

     (f) Female former foster care youth become sexually active more than seven months earlier than their nonfoster care counterparts, have more sexual partners, and have a mean age of first pregnancy of almost two years earlier than their peers who were not in foster care.

     (2) The legislature intends to create the passport to college promise pilot program. The pilot program will initially operate for a six-year period, and will have two primary components, as follows:

     (a) Significantly increasing outreach to foster care youth between the ages of fourteen and eighteen regarding the higher education opportunities available to them, how to apply to college, and how to apply for and obtain financial aid; and

     (b) Providing financial aid to former foster care youth to assist with the costs of their public undergraduate college education.

[2013 c 39 § 11; 2007 c 314 § 1.]




28B.117.010
Program created — Purpose. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

The passport to college promise program is created. The purpose of the program is:

     (1) To encourage current and former foster care youth to prepare for, attend, and successfully complete higher education;

     (2) To improve the high school graduation outcomes of foster youth through coordinated P-20 and child welfare outreach, intervention, and planning; and

     (3) To improve postsecondary outcomes by providing current and former foster care youth with the educational planning, information, institutional support, and direct financial resources necessary for them to succeed in higher education.

[2012 c 163 § 2; 2007 c 314 § 3.]

Notes:

     Findings -- 2012 c 163: "In 2007, with the passport to college promise program, this state took a significant step toward providing higher education opportunities to youth in and alumni of foster care. The passport to college promise program not only provides financial aid to former foster youth but, just as important, it also recognizes the critical role of wraparound services and provides early outreach to foster care youth regarding postsecondary educational opportunities. The December 2011 report by the *higher education coordinating board on the first three years of the six-year program indicates that the passport to college promise program has increased the number of former foster youth enrolling in higher education and working toward college degrees and certificates.

     This state recognizes that educational success in the early grades is key to increasing postsecondary opportunities for youth in and alumni of foster care. Recent efforts in this state to pave the way for educational success have included legislation: Providing for wraparound educational advocacy services; mandating the timely transmission of educational records; and recognizing the importance of maintaining a foster child in the school program he or she was in before entering the foster care system and minimizing the number of times a child has to change schools.

     The federal fostering connections to success and increasing adoptions act of 2008, P.L. 110-351, similarly recognizes that schools are often the most important source of focus and stability for children in foster care and made several changes to improve educational outcomes for these children. As part of this nationwide effort, the United States departments of education and health and human services are encouraging state and local education agencies and child welfare agencies to collaborate on policies and procedures to provide educational stability and improve outcomes for foster children.

     The legislature reiterates its earlier recognition of the critical role education plays in improving outcomes for youth in and alumni of foster care, as well as the key role played by wraparound services in providing continuity, seamless educational transitions, and higher levels of educational attainment. With these changes to the passport to college promise program, the college bound scholarship program, the provision of more seamless wraparound services, and revisions to various reporting requirements, the legislature strives to make Washington the leader in the nation with respect to foster youth and alumni graduating from high school, enrolling in postsecondary education, and completing postsecondary education." [2012 c 163 § 1.]

     *Reviser's note: The higher education coordinating board was abolished by 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 301, effective July 1, 2012.

     Effective date -- 2012 c 163: "This act takes effect July 1, 2012." [2012 c 163 § 15.]




28B.117.020
Definitions. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

     (1) "Cost of attendance" means the cost associated with attending a particular institution of higher education as determined by the office, including but not limited to tuition, fees, room, board, books, personal expenses, and transportation, plus the cost of reasonable additional expenses incurred by an eligible student and approved by a financial aid administrator at the student's school of attendance.

     (2) "Financial need" means the difference between a student's cost of attendance and the student's total family contribution as determined by the method prescribed by the United States department of education.

     (3) "Independent college or university" means a private, nonprofit institution of higher education, open to residents of the state, providing programs of education beyond the high school level leading to at least the baccalaureate degree, and accredited by the Northwest association of schools and colleges, and other institutions as may be developed that are approved by the *board as meeting equivalent standards as those institutions accredited under this section.

     (4) "Institution of higher education" means any institution eligible to and participating in the state need grant program.

     (5) "Office" means the office of student financial assistance.

     (6) "Program" means the passport to college promise program created in this chapter.

[2012 c 163 § 3; 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 220; 2007 c 314 § 2.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: The higher education coordinating board ("board") was abolished by 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 301, effective July 1, 2012.

     Findings -- Effective date -- 2012 c 163: See notes following RCW 28B.117.010.

     Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.

     Expiration date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 220-225: "Sections 220 through 225 of this act expire June 30, 2013." [2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 402.]

     Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.




28B.117.030
Program design and implementation — Student eligibility — Supplemental scholarship and student assistance. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

(1) The office shall design and, to the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose, implement, a program of supplemental scholarship and student assistance for students who have emancipated from the state foster care system after having spent at least one year in care.

     (2) The office shall convene and consult with an advisory committee to assist with program design and implementation. The committee shall include but not be limited to former foster care youth and their advocates; representatives from the state board for community and technical colleges, and from public and private agencies that assist current and former foster care recipients in their transition to adulthood; and student support specialists from public and private colleges and universities.

     (3) To the extent that sufficient funds have been appropriated for this purpose, a student is eligible for assistance under this section if he or she:

     (a) Spent at least one year in foster care subsequent to his or her sixteenth birthday;

     (b) Meets one of the following three requirements:

     (i) Emancipated from foster care on or after January 1, 2007;

     (ii) Enrolls in extended foster care; or    

     (iii) Achieves a permanent plan after age seventeen and one-half years;

     (c) Is a resident student, as defined in RCW
28B.15.012(2);

     (d) Is enrolled with or will enroll on at least a half-time basis with an institution of higher education in Washington state by the age of twenty-one;

     (e) Is making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree or certificate program, if receiving supplemental scholarship assistance;

     (f) Has not earned a bachelor's or professional degree; and

     (g) Is not pursuing a degree in theology.

     (4) A passport to college scholarship under this section:

     (a) Shall not exceed resident undergraduate tuition and fees at the highest-priced public institution of higher education in the state; and

     (b) Shall not exceed the student's financial need, less a reasonable self-help amount defined by the office, when combined with all other public and private grant, scholarship, and waiver assistance the student receives.

     (5) An eligible student may receive a passport to college scholarship under this section for a maximum of five years after the student first enrolls with an institution of higher education or until the student turns age twenty-six, whichever occurs first. If a student turns age twenty-six during an academic year, and would otherwise be eligible for a scholarship under this section, the student shall continue to be eligible for a scholarship for the remainder of the academic year.

     (6) The office, in consultation with and with assistance from the state board for community and technical colleges, shall perform an annual analysis to verify that those institutions of higher education at which students have received a scholarship under this section have awarded the student all available need-based and merit-based grant and scholarship aid for which the student qualifies.

     (7) In designing and implementing the passport to college student support program under this section, the office, in consultation with and with assistance from the state board for community and technical colleges, shall ensure that a participating college or university:

     (a) Has a viable plan for identifying students eligible for assistance under this section, for tracking and enhancing their academic progress, for addressing their unique needs for assistance during school vacations and academic interims, and for linking them to appropriate sources of assistance in their transition to adulthood;

     (b) Receives financial and other incentives for achieving measurable progress in the recruitment, retention, and graduation of eligible students.

[2013 c 182 § 8; (2012 c 229 § 609 expired June 30, 2013); 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 221; 2007 c 314 § 4.]

Notes:

     Expiration date -- 2013 c 182 § 8: "Section 8 of this act expires June 30, 2022." [2013 c 182 § 11.]

     Findings -- 2013 c 182: See note following RCW 13.34.030.

     Expiration date -- 2012 c 229 §§ 570 and 609: "Sections *570 and 609 of this act expire June 30, 2013." [2012 c 229 § 907.]

     *Reviser's note: Section 570 of this act was vetoed.

     Effective date -- 2012 c 229 §§ 101, 117, 401, 402, 501 through 594, 601 through 609, 701 through 708, 801 through 821, 902, and 904: See note following RCW 28B.77.005.

     Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.

     Expiration date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 220-225: See note following RCW 28B.117.020.

     Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.




28B.117.040
Identification of eligible students and applicants — Duties of institutions of higher education — Duties of the department of social and health services. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

Effective operation of the passport to college promise program requires early and accurate identification of former foster care youth so that they can be linked to the financial and other assistance that will help them succeed in college. To that end:

     (1) All institutions of higher education that receive funding for student support services under RCW
28B.117.030 shall include on their applications for admission or on their registration materials a question asking whether the applicant has been in foster care in Washington state for at least one year since his or her sixteenth birthday together with an explanation that financial and support services may be available. All other institutions of higher education are strongly encouraged to include such a question and explanation. No institution may consider whether an applicant may be eligible for a scholarship or student support services under this chapter when deciding whether the applicant will be granted admission.

     (2) The department of social and health services shall devise and implement procedures for efficiently, promptly, and accurately identifying students and applicants who are eligible for services under RCW 28B.117.030, and for sharing that information with the office and with institutions of higher education. The procedures shall include appropriate safeguards for consent by the applicant or student before disclosure.

[2012 c 163 § 4; 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 222; 2007 c 314 § 5.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Effective date -- 2012 c 163: See notes following RCW 28B.117.010.

     Legislative recommendation -- 2012 c 163: See note following RCW 74.13.105.

     Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.

     Expiration date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 220-225: See note following RCW 28B.117.020.

     Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.




28B.117.050
Internet web site and outreach program. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

(1) To the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose, the office, with input from the state board for community and technical colleges, the foster care partnership, and institutions of higher education, shall develop and maintain an internet web site and outreach program to serve as a comprehensive portal for foster care youth in Washington state to obtain information regarding higher education including, but not necessarily limited to:

     (a) Academic, social, family, financial, and logistical information important to successful postsecondary educational success;

     (b) How and when to obtain and complete college applications;

     (c) What college placement tests, if any, are generally required for admission to college and when and how to register for such tests;

     (d) How and when to obtain and complete a federal free application for federal student aid (FAFSA); and

     (e) Detailed sources of financial aid likely available to eligible former foster care youth, including the financial aid provided by this chapter.

     (2) The office shall determine whether to design, build, and operate such program and web site directly or to use, support, and modify existing web sites created by government or nongovernmental entities for a similar purpose.

[2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 223; 2007 c 314 § 6.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.

     Expiration date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 220-225: See note following RCW 28B.117.020.

     Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.




28B.117.060
Program of supplemental educational transition planning for youth in foster care — Contract with nongovernmental entity. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

(1) To the extent funds are appropriated for this purpose, the department of social and health services, with input from the state board for community and technical colleges, the office, and institutions of higher education, shall contract with at least one nongovernmental entity through a request for proposals process to develop, implement, and administer a program of supplemental educational transition planning for youth in foster care in Washington state.

     (2) The nongovernmental entity or entities chosen by the department shall have demonstrated success in working with foster care youth and assisting foster care youth in successfully making the transition from foster care to independent adulthood.

     (3) The selected nongovernmental entity or entities shall provide supplemental educational transition planning to foster care youth in Washington state beginning at age fourteen and then at least every six months thereafter. The supplemental transition planning shall include:

     (a) Comprehensive information regarding postsecondary educational opportunities including, but not limited to, sources of financial aid, institutional characteristics and record of support for former foster care youth, transportation, housing, and other logistical considerations;

     (b) How and when to apply to postsecondary educational programs;

     (c) What precollege tests, if any, the particular foster care youth should take based on his or her postsecondary plans and when to take the tests;

     (d) What courses to take to prepare the particular foster care youth to succeed at his or her postsecondary plans;

     (e) Social, community, educational, logistical, and other issues that frequently impact college students and their success rates; and

     (f) Which web sites, nongovernmental entities, public agencies, and other foster care youth support providers specialize in which services.

     (4) The selected nongovernmental entity or entities shall work directly with the school counselors at the foster care youths' high schools to ensure that a consistent and complete transition plan has been prepared for each foster care youth who emancipates out of the foster care system in Washington state.

[2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 224; 2007 c 314 § 7.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.

     Expiration date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 220-225: See note following RCW 28B.117.020.

     Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.




28B.117.070
Reports — Recommendations. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

The Washington state institute for public policy shall complete an evaluation of the passport to college promise program and shall submit a report to appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2012. The report shall estimate the impact of the program on eligible students' participation and success in postsecondary education, and shall include recommendations for program revision and improvement.

[2012 c 163 § 5; 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 § 225; 2007 c 314 § 8.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Effective date -- 2012 c 163: See notes following RCW 28B.117.010.

     Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 101-103, 106-202, 204-244, and 301: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.

     Expiration date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11 §§ 220-225: See note following RCW 28B.117.020.

     Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 11: See note following RCW 28B.76.020.




28B.117.900
Construction — 2007 c 314. (Expires June 30, 2022.)

Nothing in this chapter may be construed to:

     (1) Guarantee acceptance by, or entrance into, any institution of higher education; or

     (2) Limit the participation of youth, in or formerly in, foster care in Washington state in any other program of financial assistance for postsecondary education.

[2007 c 314 § 9.]




28B.117.901
Expiration of chapter.

This chapter expires June 30, 2022.

[2012 c 163 § 13; 2007 c 314 § 10.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Effective date -- 2012 c 163: See notes following RCW 28B.117.010.




28B.117.902
Short title — 2012 c 163.

This act may be known and cited as the educational success for youth and alumni of foster care act.

[2012 c 163 § 14.]

Notes:

     Findings -- Effective date -- 2012 c 163: See notes following RCW 28B.117.010.