The 2012 Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) to conduct a long-term study of the State Need Grant program. The State Need Grant program provides grant funding for income-eligible undergraduate students attending colleges, universities and career schools in Washington State. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the extent to which the State Need Grant has increased college access and degree attainment for low-income students. In addition, the study direction calls for a review of:
The demographics of recipients of the state need grant program, including but not limited to gender, race and income;
The effect of the state need grant on enrollment rates of low-income students at the different institutions of higher education and whether these students attend full-time or part-time;
The effect of the state need grant on recipients persistence, performance, degree or certificate completion, and time to degree or certificate completion at the different institutions of higher education;
An inventory of the types of degrees and certifications at the different institutions of higher education, by field of study, obtained by recipients; and
The interplay of the state need grant program with other forms of financial aid and the effect of this interplay on access and degree attainment of low-income students.
A preliminary report was released in December 2012 and the final evaluation will be completed by December 2013. The legislation also directed the Student Achievement Council (formerly Higher Education Coordinating Board) to develop options for prioritizing State Need Grant Awards (report due in 2014). The Institute will work with both the Student Achievement Council, financial aid administrators and other stakeholders to conduct a thorough and informative analysis of need-based financial assistance.