HB 2820 establishes the WA Promise Program to help make the first two years of college affordable and accessible for all Washingtonians. This is done by offering a tuition waiver for all eligible students enrolled in associate degree or certificate programs offered by the community and technical colleges. The office of student financial assistance shall administer the program and shall award grants to students who meet the criteria as specified in the legislation. Up to $1,500 for books and other related expenses must be provided as a stipend to students with a family income that does not exceed 75% of the state median family income. A report is due to the legislature by Dec. 1, 2016 and annually thereafter, student enrollment, completion of credits, additional resources used to meet students' needs, and the number of students receiving wraparound services.
The WA State Institute for Public Policy is charged with conducting a study on the effectiveness of the program. They will look at (not limited to): increase in enrollments in community or technical colleges; any decreases in enrollment elsewhere in institutions of higher education; changes in student persistence, completion , and time-to-degree rates; and any change in need or delivery of student services. The Institute is directed to report its findings to the legislature by Dec. 1, 2020.
Additionally, the caseload forecast council will include in their forecast the number of students who ae eligible for the WA promise program and are expected to attend a community or technical college.