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The Effectiveness of Washington’s College Bound Scholarship Program

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Danielle Fumia, Kristofer Bitney, Michael Hirsch - November 2018

The 2015 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the effects of the College Bound Scholarship (CBS) program on education outcomes. The CBS program is an early commitment program that provides financial assistance to low-income undergraduate students. At public institutions, CBS covers full tuition and fees, plus a book stipend. Eligible students at corresponding private institutions receive the equivalent dollar value. To receive the scholarship, students must sign a pledge in middle school promising to graduate high school with at least a 2.0 GPA and no felony convictions and apply for federal or state financial aid. Students who complete the pledge requirements and have family incomes at or below 65% of the state median family income during college can receive their full CBS award. The program started in the 2007-08 academic year with the first CBS cohort entering college in the 2012-13 academic year.

This report describes our findings of the effectiveness of the College Bound Scholarship program on education outcomes for students attending Washington public schools in middle school. We analyze the effects of pledge eligibility and signing the College Bound pledge in middle school, CBS eligibility at the end of high school, and CBS receipt in the first year of college on secondary and postsecondary outcomes at public institutions in Washington.

In February 2019, we updated our main findings with a supplemental report using data from the National Student Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker service. This supplemental report evaluates the effects of the CBS program on enrollment and graduation across all institutions, including outcomes at private institutions in Washington and public and private institutions outside of Washington.

Report ID: 18-12-2301

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