NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED539703
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
Creating a High School Culture of College-Going: The Case of Washington State Achievers. Issue Brief
Ramsey, Jennifer
Institute for Higher Education Policy
Increasing competitiveness in today's globalized and knowledge-based economy demands college-educated professionals. Creating an adequate number of college-educated professionals requires an investment in human capital, particularly in postsecondary education. In fact, six out of every 10 jobs in the United States involve advanced skills that can be acquired only through some postsecondary education or training. Although most students and parents recognize the importance of higher education, students from families in the top income quartile are about seven times more likely than students from the bottom quartile to earn a baccalaureate degree. This discrepancy leads to a widening income gap and leaves employers with too few employees with the necessary skills. Multiple factors contribute to lower rates of postsecondary degree completion among low-income students. One of the most recognized factors is the rapid increase in the cost of attending college. Though the federal government provides some financial assistance to students with a demonstrated need, the amount of aid has not kept pace with tuition, making higher education less affordable. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation took a holistic approach when creating the Washington State Achievers (WSA) program. Introduced in 2001, WSA integrates high school reform and early college information at 16 high schools in Washington state with college scholarships for selected students from those schools. These scholarships provide guaranteed financial support to in-state colleges and universities for a group of approximately 500 low-income students each year. This report discusses WSA's key successes and challenges in addressing barriers to college attendance among low-income students with the goal of opening up a discussion of programs and policies that can lead to the creation of a high school culture of college-going. (Contains 2 figures and 8 footnotes.)
Institute for Higher Education Policy. 1825 K Street Suite 720, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-861-8223; Fax: 202-861-9307; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Institute for Higher Education Policy
Identifiers - Location: United States; Washington