2024 Legislative Successes for WA Students

A family celebrating a graduate.

The 2024 legislative session wrapped up last week, and it resulted in several policy changes and investments that will support progress toward Partnership for Learning’s goal that 70% of Washington students, overall and within each racial and ethnic community, complete a credential after high school, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or industry-aligned certificate or license.

New policies the legislature passed include:

  • Easier Access to Financial Aid:
    • Students who are recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – known in Washington as Basic Food – will be automatically eligible for the Washington College Grant (WCG), without filling out the FAFSA. The bill passed by lawmakers (HB 2214) will impact more than 30,000 students, helping to maximize the effectiveness of the WCG and making it easier for students most in need to access financial aid and complete a credential after high school. The bill is now with Governor Inslee for his signature.
    • Students will be able to receive state financial aid under the Washington College Grant, College Bound Scholarship, and the Passport to Careers scholarship for the same amount of time they receive federal aid under the Pell Grant. In other words, students can receive state financial aid for up to six years to finish their studies, instead of the previous five years (SB 5904, currently with Governor Inslee for his signature).
  • Increased Awareness about Opportunities: The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will be required to share high school student directory information with the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) in addition to the state’s postsecondary institutions, making it easier for the institutions and WSAC to connect with students about postsecondary opportunities and financial aid, among other topics. The bill passed (SB 6053) is now with Governor Inslee for his signature.
  • Reducing Barriers to Enrolling in Postsecondary Education: Rules about the work-study program in Washington will be modified to eliminate the salary matching requirement for public, nonprofit, and community service employers that seek to increase postsecondary enrollment for high school students. Not only does this bill support community organizations that are contributing to the 70% credential attainment goal, it also encourages them to hire more students and give them valuable work experience while helping fund their education (HB 2025, currently with Governor Inslee for signature).

Partnership for Learning applauds legislators for progress this session, and we continue to appreciate collaboration with key partners across the state working together to support great opportunities and outcomes for Washington students. As we seek to raise the rate at which Washington students enroll in and complete post-high school education, these legislative changes can ease students’ experiences in the critical transition from high school to college and career training.