$100 Million Program to Aid Low-Income Students and Schools
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is creating the biggest private scholarship program in Washington state with a $100 million gift to help low-income students go to college.
The Washington State Achievers Program will give 500 four-year scholarships a year for colleges and universities in Washington, the foundation announced last month. The program will also help 10 to 15 public schools serving low-income students.
“This is an enormous grant — the biggest private grant ever in the state of Washington — and we’re enormously thankful,” says Bob Craves, chairman of the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board. Craves also is president and chief executive of the nonprofit organization that will administer the scholarships.
The foundation is to pick 10 to 15 schools for the program this spring. Public high schools with more than 100 students are eligible if at least 20 percent of their students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Scholarship recipients are to be chosen from the selected schools. The scholarships in 2001 are expected to range from $3,600 to $6,400, depending on the type of college. Tuition, room and board at a public four-year college in Washington now cost about $10,000 a year.
The schools chosen will be given $500 per student to redesign classrooms “into small, autonomous learning environments of no more than 100 students per grade level,” the Gates foundation says. An additional $100 per student will go toward boosting college awareness.
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