State scholarship now including community colleges

Last month the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship announced that they would be expanding their outreach of students, officially allowing people enrolled in community and technical colleges to apply for the scholarship. This news made noise throughout the state in schools that now fit under the overarching rule of potential applicants, and BC was soon added onto the list of eligible colleges.
“Prior to the new legislation, only students who were planning to complete a transfer degree at Bellevue [College] and enroll in an eligible four-year university were eligible for the scholarship. Expanding the scholarship criteria to include professional and technical degrees in the STEM fields means more of our students may qualify which is great news,” said Melanie Ruiz, the director of financial aid at Bellevue College.
The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship – henceforth referred to as WSOS – is a private-public scholarship that is open to students pursuing majors in a STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – program. The scholarship has been running for seven years and assisted students in obtaining over 2,000 bachelor’s degrees collectively.
WSOS is dedicated to giving students interested in STEM programs the financial support required to complete those degrees. According to their mission statement, “WSOS is committed to preparing our students to be the face of Washington’s workforce by reducing barriers to earning degrees in high-demand science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health care fields.”
Students who are granted the scholarship will be awarded different amounts of money based on how many credits they have earned. Because most students at Bellevue College have completed between zero and 89 credits, according to Ruiz, the average amount of money a BC student will receive is around $2,500 every academic year. As students start earning more credits and get closer to finishing their degree, though, they are able to apply for more aid through the scholarship, which could lead to a recipient earning up to $7,500 a year.
One of the people that the WSOS helped was Osman Salahuddin, who studied neurobiology at the University of Washington. “Receiving the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship has been invaluable for me as I journey on my path towards a future in the healthcare field, and the $5,000 scholarship that I was awarded through Battelle truly means the world to me. Balancing costs with the high price of tuition has been difficult over my past two years at the University of Washington [in] Seattle; however, now heading into my junior year, I can have peace of mind in knowing that Battelle graciously gave me $5,000 to pursue my academic aspirations,” said Salahuddin.
According to the WSOS website, applicants must be residents of Washington State, be actively pursuing an approved major, and meet other requirements that are listed under the “New Applicants” section of the website. In order to receive the scholarship for the upcoming year, students would have needed to apply by the end of February, a deadline which has passed. However, applications will reopen for the next academic year in January 2019.