Archive of Recent Media Coverage

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Independent Colleges of Washington Honors Nordstrom, Inc. with the 2019 Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award


Seattle, March 21, 2019 – The 41-member Board of Directors of Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) will honor Nordstrom, Inc. for its five decades of scholarship support through Nordstrom Cares with the 2019 Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award. The recognition will made at the Board’s Spring Board Meeting on April 1-2, 2019.

Independent Colleges of Washington is the statewide service association of 10 private, not-for-profit, liberal arts-based colleges and universities. The McNaughton Leadership Award is the association’s highest honor and signals the recipient’s unwavering commitment to community, service excellence, and quality.

“For the past 50 years, Nordstrom has been taking care of our communities by investing in higher education. Through annual scholarships, Nordstrom Cares has made college a reality for more than 700 students across all 10 of our member campuses,” said Terri Standish-Kuon, president and CEO of ICW. “It is our great privilege to recognize Nordstrom among the distinguished supporters of independent colleges in Washington.”

Created in 1999, the award is named in honor of visionary director Stanley O. McNaughton, a founder of Independent Colleges of Washington, and awarded once a year to recognize companies, legislators, and leaders that have demonstrated passion for and commitment to Washington’s independent colleges and universities. McNaughton was a consummate leader in the community and dedicated to preparing students for meaningful lives and careers.

McNaughton’s vision laid the foundation for ICW in 1953, and remained a champion for the organization’s mission until his death in 1998.

Previous award recipients include former ICW President and CEO, Violet A. Boyer, state Sen. Dino Rossi (R-Sammamish), Alaska Airlines, and Governor Jay Inslee.


Founded in 1953, Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.

Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the Association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy.

For more information, contact: Kris Gonzales, vice president, Independent Colleges of Washington, (206) 623-4494 or

College Leaders Pen Joint Letter Affirming Commitment to Sexual Violence Prevention, Safe Environments

November 16, 2018

Our country is currently in the midst of difficult but important conversations about sexual harassment and violence. As leaders of Washington’s 50 major public and private, not-for-profit colleges and universities, we reaffirm our commitment to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff and to creating an inclusive educational environment where every student has the opportunity to be successful.

Students cannot benefit from, and faculty and staff cannot deliver, high-quality education if their personal safety and well-being are being violated. Therefore, together we will continue to prioritize sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention and response efforts on our campuses. This includes assessing our community members to gauge the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault on campuses, as well as their knowledge of available resources; improving collaboration on campus sexual violence issues among institutions of higher education and between institutions of higher education and law enforcement; regularly reviewing and updating our individual conduct codes and adjudication processes; providing training about sex and gender-based harassment and violence and trauma-informed response information; and taking into account relevant due and fair process considerations for members of our campus communities while learning from our colleagues who are addressing these issues through student- and administrative-l activities.

The result of these efforts, as well as greater societal attention to this issue, has been an increase in the number of individuals—students and employees—who report having been victimized. We must continue to foster a climate where all individuals feel safe seeking assistance, and can expect a fair and equitable response to their concerns.

We know there remains more work to do. Investigation and prevention efforts are resource-intensive and require on-going training; our campus needs vary by institution. We continue to learn from each other about what efforts are most effective so that we can offer cost-effective, evidence-based services and programs, and we remain committed to fair, equitable and timely investigations when complaints are received.

Colleges and universities are places of learning and discovery that lead to the promotion and advancement of knowledge that benefits us all. It remains our goal to create a safe learning environment for everyone in our communities.


President James Gaudino, Central Washington University
President Mary Cullinan, Eastern Washington University
President George Bridges, The Evergreen State College
President Ana Mari Cauce, University of Washington
President Kirk Schulz, Washington State University
President Sabah Randhawa, Western Washington University
President Thayne M. McCulloh, Gonzaga University
President Andrew C. Sund, Heritage University
Acting President Allan Belton, Pacific Lutheran University
President Roy F. Heynderickx, Saint Martin’s University
President Daniel J. Martin, Seattle Pacific University
President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., Seattle University
President Isiaah Crawford, University of Puget Sound
President John McVay, Walla Walla University
President Kathleen M. Murray, Whitman College
President Beck A. Taylor, Whitworth University
Jan Yoshiwara, Executive Director, State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
Robert K. Knight, President, Washington Association of Community & Technical Colleges

10th Grade Smarter Balanced Assessment Statement

Washington’s private nonprofit colleges and universities recognize the value of measuring a student’s educational progress and strongly support multiple high-quality pathways to a degree with an emphasis on the role and value of learning as students move through high school. To best prepare for college, students should take full advantage of the comprehensive options available to them throughout their high school career by pursuing the most rigorous curriculum for which they are ready and qualified to undertake.

Washington’s 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment provides students and families the opportunity to determine whether a student is meeting educational expectations that align with their educational goals. It also provides families and students an early indication of whether a student is on a path towards college preparation and what to do to be prepared for college after high school graduation. This opportunity allows students and schools to take responsibility for next steps to ensure that a student is successful.

Level 3 or 4 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts Students who earn a Level 3 or 4 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts indicates that a student is on a path towards college preparation. To prepare for college after high school graduation, students should complete the minimum admission standards for Washington’s baccalaureate institutions, which include but are not limited to, the following mathematics & English requirements:

  • Mathematics
    • Three years of mathematics to include at a minimum:
      • – Algebra II or higher
    • We strongly encourage math-based quantitative course in the 12th grade


  • English language arts
    • Four years of English to include at a minimum:
      • Three credits of college preparatory coursework including literature and composition
      • One credit of elective English

Level 1 or 2 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts A Level 1 or 2 on the 10th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in mathematics and/or English language arts indicates that a student may need additional work on certain skills and knowledge to be on a path towards college preparation. To prepare for college after high school graduation, students should work with teachers and counselors to identify gaps and develop a plan to meet the student’s educational goals.

Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, Gonzaga University
Kazuhiro Sonoda, Heritage University
Joanna Gregson, Pacific Lutheran University
Kate Boyle, Saint Martin’s University
Jeff Van Duzer, Seattle Pacific University
Robert Dullea, Seattle Universtiy
Kristine Bartanen, University of Puget Sound
Volker Henning, Walla Walla University
Alzada Tipton, Whitman College
Caroline Simon,Whitworth University




Independent Colleges of Washington Names Terri Standish-Kuon, PhD, Next President and Chief Executive Officer

Washington’s 10 Private Colleges and Universities Well-Positioned to Partner with State, Industry and Supporters to Produce More College Graduates for Burgeoning Fields and Community Needs

Terri Standish-Kuon, PhD,was named next president and chief executive officer of ICW.

Seattle, April 16, 2018 – Terri Standish-Kuon, PhD, vice president of public affairs for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) in New York, has been selected following a national search as the next president and chief executive officer of Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW). ICW’s current president, Violet A. Boyer, will retire June 30 after 20 years leading the organization.

Standish-Kuon’s appointment was made official earlier this month at a meeting of ICW’s board of directors, which unanimously approved the recommendation of the search committee formed to choose Boyer’s successor.

“On behalf of the entire ICW family, I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Standish-Kuon to Washington,” said Beck A. Taylor, president of Whitworth University and chair of the ICW board of directors. “Throughout the search process, Terri consistently articulated a positive and forward-looking vision for the role of independent colleges and universities in our state, and the impact that our graduates have in creating the inclusive community and economic prosperity Washington aspires to. Terri has the experience, passion and vision to lead ICW for many years to come.”

Roy F. Heynderickx, president of Saint Martin’s University and chair of the ICW presidential search committee, added, “For more than 60 years, ICW has promoted educational opportunity, choice and success for students. Terri Standish-Kuon brings exceptional skills, education and deep policy experience to lead ICW and continue this tradition. We look forward to welcoming her to the great state of Washington.”

Standish-Kuon has served for more than 25 years with the CICU in New York and has a deep knowledge of higher education public policy, especially the value of independent higher education. In her current role as vice president of public affairs, Standish-Kuon leads a team focused on research, policy analysis, government relations and communications. She recently completed a term on the board of the State-National Information Network, an affiliate of the National Association of Independent College and University State Executives.

From 2002-14, as the CICU’s vice president of communications and administration, Standish-Kuon focused on federal issues; designing and executing grass-roots advocacy strategies; directing internal and external communications; and working with the CICU president to monitor a $3 million operating budget.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to join ICW, especially now. As Washington state’s leaders and the nation think about who goes to college and how we can best ensure the talent pipeline that we need to support business and industry and the essential work of local communities, it will be my great privilege to join ICW’s college presidents and a committed, engaged Board from the corporate sector in offering a partnership to Governor Inslee, the state legislature, Washington’s Congressional delegation, and our public 2-year and 4-year higher education colleagues. Together we will find the creative solutions that ensure we are prepared for a positive future,” Standish-Kuon said.

“What’s more, it is a privilege to continue Vi Boyer’s extraordinary commitment to equity, ensuring that students are able to choose their ideal college environment. Student choice and access is essential to getting all students—including new majority, first-generation, returning adults, low-income, and underrepresented youth—across the finish line to graduation, prepared to contribute their talents to the state, the nation and the world. I look forward to working with ICW’s scholarship and program funders to give students the support they need to pursue their higher education aspirations,” Standish-Kuon said.

Standish-Kuon will begin her role as president and CEO of ICW in July, leading the nonprofit in its efforts to reinforce the importance of higher education and postsecondary attainment goals in the state of Washington and raising awareness about the essential role that private, liberal arts-based colleges and universities play in the overall quality and diversity of Washington’s higher education landscape.

She has served on several boards, published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at numerous conferences. As an adjunct faculty member, she has taught “Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” a course for undergraduates and graduate students emphasizing creativity, opportunity recognition and the start of the entrepreneurial process.

Retiring ICW president Violet Boyer added, “I am thrilled that Terri is going to lead ICW. I have worked with her for 25 years and have found her to be a very thoughtful and strategic colleague. She will take ICW to new levels of engagement.”

Standish-Kuon holds a PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, master’s degrees from the University at Albany and from The Sage Colleges, and a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.


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Violet A. Boyer presented Stanley O. McNaughten Leadership Award

Whitworth University President and ICW Board Chair Beck Taylor and Vi Boyer

Seattle, WA, April 11, 2018 – Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), the statewide service association of the 10 private non-profit colleges and universities, awards retiring ICW President and CEO Violet A. Boyer with the Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award.

“Since joining ICW in 1998, Vi’s leadership on equity and educational attainment has helped increase aid available to students, assuring that higher education remains an option for all regardless of economic circumstance,” said Beck A. Taylor, president of Whitworth University and ICW board chair. “And the independent sector of higher education in Washington could not have had a more inspirational and effective champion. Vi’s legacy will live on for future generations.”

Boyer has worked tirelessly to increase collaboration across the private and public higher education sectors in Washington, recognizing that the health of Washington’s economy demands a well-educated workforce.

“ICW’s work is central to the future of Washington. I am deeply honored, and a bit surprised, to receive this award,” said Boyer. “I have worked with each of its recipients and it is humbling to be added to this extraordinary list of people and companies that have helped so many students.”

Boyer received the award at a dinner on Monday evening celebrating her 20 years of service to ICW. Speakers included Dr. David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. of Seattle University, Norma Heredia, an ICW scholarship recipient and student at Whitworth University, and Terry Jones, South Sound Market President for U.S. Bank, among others.

Created in 1999, the award is named in honor of visionary director Stanley O. McNaughton, a founder of Independent Colleges of Washington, and awarded once a year to recognize companies, legislators, and leaders that have demonstrated passion for and commitment to Washington’s independent colleges and universities. McNaughton was a consummate leader in the community and dedicated to preparing students for meaningful lives and careers.
McNaughton’s vision laid the foundation for ICW in 1953, and remained a champion for the organization’s mission until his death in 1998.

Previous award recipients include Governor Jay Inslee, Alaska Airlines, and state Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla).




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Dino Rossi Advocacy Award by ICW

Seattle University President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J. and Dino Rossi

The Board of Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) today presented Dino Rossi with the ICW Outstanding Advocacy Award.

ICW Board Chair and Whitworth University President Beck Taylor said, “Senator Rossi has long been a friend of Independent Colleges of Washington. In his brief return to the State Senate in 2017, he made his presence known by fighting for student aid for all students. The Board of ICW is honored to give him the ICW Outstanding Advocacy Award.”

Senator Rossi received the ICW Stanley O. McNaughton Award at its 50th Anniversary luncheon in 2003 when, as Chair of Ways and Means in a time of tight budgets, he crafted a bipartisan budget with an eye to the future of Washington and a priority on protecting our most vulnerable citizens. That budget provided a strong increase in funding for student aid.

After a hiatus from the state legislature, Rossi returned in 2017 to fill the seat open because of the death of Senator Andy Hill, another advocate for students. Rossi’s work with budget writers on State Need Grant (SNG) funding proved instrumental to increasing student aid to serve more students for the first time in six years and restoring the grant level to students at private nonprofit colleges.

“The Independent Colleges of Washington is an incredible advocate for higher education in Washington State, and I am grateful for its work supporting our students. ICW’s advocacy and work supporting the State Need Grant to ensure that all Washingtonians, regardless of financial status have access to higher education is admirable. I have been proud to support ICW’s work whenever I have been in the legislature,” Rossi said.

The Outstanding Advocacy Award is a periodic award that was established in 2017 to recognize extraordinary advocacy for students at ICW member colleges.



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Violet A. Boyer, longtime champion for quality education for all students, announces retirement

Violet Boyer is retiring from ICW after 20 years as President and CEO.

Boyer has been Washington’s pre-eminent leader in protecting and expanding financial aid for all students. In her role as ICW president & CEO, she represents the 10 nonprofit, independent liberal arts colleges in Washington, but her work over the past 30 years has benefited the state’s students in need, regardless of the college they attend.

Boyer has served as ICW’s president and CEO since 1998. Prior to her appointment, Boyer served as assistant vice president for congressional and state relations with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), worked in the U.S. Senate as the legislative director for former Sen. Kent Conrad (D- N.D.), and was an administrator in higher education at two independent colleges.

During her career, Boyer has created a central role for the ICW at the state and federal levels. She is consistently called upon to represent independent colleges, serving on numerous task forces and committees, often directly appointed by the Legislature or the Governor.

Boyer has secured more than $16 million in private financial assistance for Washington’s students and has repeatedly led the charge to ensure a high-quality education is available to all students, regardless of income or circumstance.

“Tens of thousands of students have Vi Boyer to thank for her tireless advocacy and accomplishments which have opened more doors to higher education during her distinguished career,” said Beck A. Taylor, president of Whitworth University and ICW board chair. “On behalf of the entire ICW board, and the students, faculty, staff, and trustees of Washington’s 10 private, independent colleges and universities, I extend my profound gratitude to Vi for her passionate and effective service. She will be deeply missed,” Taylor added.

Boyer’s many other accomplishments include securing a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that allows trained student constituents from public and private colleges and universities to educate legislators about higher education goals. She’s also responsible for a major increase to the State Need Grant for students at private colleges and universities. Under her leadership, the grant grew from less than $2,500 to $9,500, a nearly 300 percent increase. Boyer also created the Matched Savings Scholarship, or MS2, an innovative, privately funded, need-based financial aid program that pairs resources with eligible students pursuing a college education at one of Washington’s leading independent colleges and universities. She is also responsible for the creation of the ICW Ethics Bowl, an academic enrichment program that culminates in a competition benefiting students from all 10 member colleges and universities.

Boyer’s passion for equality extends beyond the colleges she represents. The ICW board has seen an increase in diversity under Boyer’s leadership, and now includes members from all over the state, and of varied ethnicities. She has spent numerous hours volunteering on key community programs to assist the elderly and the homeless.

Boyer’s outstanding contributions to education were recognized this year by Whitworth University. President Taylor presented her with the university’s Distinguished Leadership Award. In 2016, she was also the recipient of the Champion for the Liberal Arts in Washington State award.

Boyer is currently serving on the Washington Student Achievement Council, is on the Board of The Coalition on College Cost Savings, and represents Washington on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Regional Steering Committee of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. Boyer’s last day as ICW president and CEO will be June 30, 2018. A national search for her replacement is currently underway. For additional information on the search for ICW’s next leader, please contact LD Large Consulting at


About Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW):

Founded in 1953, ICW is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure the success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.

Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy.

For more information, contact: Kris Gonzales, vice president, Independent Colleges of Washington, (206) 623-4494 or




ICW awards the 2017 Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award to Gov. Jay Inslee


Dec. 14, 2017

Governor Jay Inslee with ICW Board Members.

Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) awarded the 2017 Stanley O. McNaughton Leadership Award to Gov. Jay Inslee on Dec. 13.

ICW is deeply grateful for Governor Inslee’s bold support for funding the State Need Grant and College Bound Scholarship in his 2017-19 biennial budget proposal. Governor Inslee’s leadership, including a $116 million budget request, resulted in legislative support for including more students in the State Need Grant for the first time in six years. Since the Great Recession, 20-30 percent of eligible students have not received the grant due to a lack of funding.

The State Need Grant is Washington’s primary grant program for low-income students. It allows students to attend the college that fits them best with the grant money following them. Beck Taylor, president of Whitworth University and chair of the ICW Board, noted,” The State Need Grant is central to the success of higher education in Washington and our ability to meet the educational needs of our residents. We are grateful to the governor for his leadership.”

“Fully funding the State Need Grant is critical to our economic future,” said Terry Jones, ICW Board vice chair and South Sound market president for U.S. Bank. “The State Need Grant will help support vibrant communities that allow every student to work toward their future and provide businesses with the talents we need.”

Created in 1999, this award was named in honor of visionary director Stanley O. McNaughton, a founder of Independent Colleges of Washington. He was a consummate leader in the community and a tireless advocate for independent higher education. His vision laid the foundation for ICW in 1953, and he remained a strong voice in support of the organization’s mission until his death in 1998. Previous recipients include Alaska Airlines, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and state Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla).

About Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW):

Founded in 1953, ICW is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure the success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.

Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy



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Statewide Higher Education Association Receives Grant to Address Attainment and Equity.



Seattle, WA, October 25, 2017 – Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), the statewide service association of the 10 private non-profit colleges and universities, is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

ICW will lead a statewide effort to mobilize trained student constituents from public and private, four and two-year college and university campuses to connect and educate legislators about higher education attainment goals, State Need Grant support, and to advance equity in Washington.

“A cohesive, unified student voice is what’s been missing from the higher education attainment tool chest. This grant will fund an 18-month project to organize a common student voice across all campuses,” said Violet A. Boyer, CEO of ICW. Central to this work includes the new majority of students—low income and first-generation students, students of color, and working adults.”

Students from public and private colleges hear from Lt. Governor Habib while in Olympia meeting with lawmakers. (Photo courtesy of ICW)

As an integral member of the College Promise Coalition, ICW will work in partnership with the Council of Presidents, the Washington Student Association, the State Board for Technical and Community Colleges (SBCTC), and the College Success Foundation.

The primary outcome of the project is to create an environment for policy change and coordination toward reaching Washington’s legislatively-adopted attainment goal of at least 70% of Washington adults, ages 25-44, have a postsecondary credential by the year 2023.

Jan Yoshiwara, Executive Director of SBCTC shared, “With an expected 720,000 jobs to fill by 2023, this investment is arming enrolled students now to mobilize the workforce of tomorrow. The College Promise Coalition is an important avenue for Washington’s higher education institutions to build common ground around common issues. I applaud Independent Colleges of Washington for taking a leadership role on behalf of all of us.”



About Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW):

Founded in 1953, ICW is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to promote the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington, support the value of choice to ensure success of college students, and advocate for the value of higher education to the state.

Business and higher education leaders from all areas of the state provide valuable direction for the Association’s work on behalf of its member colleges and universities and higher education attainment goals that fuel Washington’s economy.

About the College Promise Coalition:

The College Promise Coalition brings together a diverse array of public, private and non-profit higher education stakeholders and supporters. Coalition members represent Washington State’s public and private four and two-year colleges and universities; students, families, faculty, alumni, education advocates and leaders in business and labor to work collectively to increase higher education attainment in Washington state.



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Joint Higher Education Statement on DACA

September 5, 2017


The presidents of Washington’s six public baccalaureate college and universities, 34 community and technical colleges, 10 members of the Independent Colleges of Washington, as well as the 10 members of the Washington Student Achievement Council issued the following statement following today’s announcement terminating the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months:

“Today’s announcement leaves us with profound disappointment and pained yet unequivocal resolve to stand up for our students who are among the 800,000 nationwide registered under DACA. These young people are some of the finest and most resilient students at our colleges and universities, often exhibiting unique character forged in the fire of adversity. They overcome major obstacles just to gain and retain eligibility without access to the federal financial assistance needed by so many to help make a college education attainable.

In Washington, all of our students, regardless of their immigration status, are invaluable to the teaching we provide in our classrooms, the research we perform in our labs, and the discoveries we make in medicine. These students and those who came before them are not strangers on our campuses, in our communities, and in our homes. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and our family. They are us.

Our nation’s history has proven that education and service are essential components to sustaining communities and stimulating economic growth in addition to helping create personal success and happiness. Washington’s colleges and universities are working aggressively to produce graduates with degrees in science, business, technology, and medicine and a variety of other high-demand areas of endeavor. Employers in their desperate search for talented young people are already reaching out of state to fill top jobs. DACA graduates are playing and will continue to play an important role in meeting this critical need in the state of Washington. They embody the initiative and resolve that has made the United States of America the most prosperous and innovative country in the world.

This lamentable decision to end DACA threatens to rob us of hundreds of thousands of gifted, hardworking, and dedicated young people who are American in every way but their immigration status.  We agree with the many business leaders throughout the country who are urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act or legislation that will allow these students to continue to contribute to the global competitive environment.”


On behalf of:

Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, The Evergreen State College, University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, Bates Technical College, Bellevue College, Bellingham Technical College, Big Bend Community College, Cascadia College, Centralia College, Clark College, Clover Park Technical College, Columbia Basin College, Edmonds Community College, Everett Community College, Grays Harbor College, Green River College, Highline College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Lower Columbia College, North Seattle College, Olympic College, Peninsula College, Pierce College, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, Pierce College Puyallup, Renton Technical College, Seattle Central College, Seattle Colleges, Shoreline Community College, Skagit Valley College, South Seattle College, Community Colleges of Spokane, Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, Tacoma Community College, Walla Walla Community College, Wenatchee Valley College, Whatcom Community College, Yakima Valley Community College, Gonzaga University, Heritage University, Pacific Lutheran University, Saint Martin’s University, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound, Walla Walla University, Whitman College, Whitworth University, Washington Student Achievement Council.



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Students Get into Hot Water (Research)—Hoping to Pull the Plug on Energy Overuse

University of Puget Sound, May 11, 2017

TACOMA, Wash. – This is the year for something different in a decade-long research partnership between Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and the state’s college students.

Each year the electric and gas utility and Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) select an innovative student research project that explores ways to use our state’s energy resources more efficiently. In the past the projects chosen for funding—from competing entries by students from ICW member colleges—have been about engineering and science research.

This year a University of Puget Sound student team won the partners over with a research proposal that is all about the “human” side of energy consumption.

“It’s exciting,” said Kris Gonzales, ICW director of development. “There’s some good marketing and business and data components to this student project that complement the nitty-gritty research.”

The team of four Puget Sound students, led by Assistant Professor Amy Fisher, in the Science, Technology, and Society Program, will use a “citizen science” and social media marketing approach to find ways to reduce hot water use at the 12 campus residence halls and eight Greek Life houses. Their strategy includes analyzing the past and present hot water use, soliciting students to collect and analyze their own energy data, surveys and focus groups to probe student habits and thinking, and the creation of a marketing strategy that will help students overcome real or perceived obstacles to energy conservation.

“We’re excited PSE mentors will get a chance to engage with the students throughout the project,” said Shar Kegley, PSE’s outreach coordinator for the project. “Our hope is that energy efficiency is a practice that can be achieved throughout the campus and one that students can take with them even once they graduate.” If the project is a success, it could provide a model for other campuses, she added.

Puget Sound Energy is contributing $10,000 toward the work, while University of Puget Sound is setting a new precedent in the partnership by also contributing another $4,000. For PSE, energy efficiency is both a community service to help customers manage their costs and the least expensive way to feed the region’s growing energy needs, explained Will Chin, PSE energy efficiency outreach manager.

The student research team includes Maya Bittmann ’19 (major: science, technology, and society), Matthew Gulick ’18 (English; environmental policy and decision making), Bjorn Hoffman ’18 (business and leadership), and Shelby Kantner ’18 (science, technology, and society).

After the data collection, the researchers will devise a marketing plan and pilot it in six residence halls in fall 2017, using the other six halls as controls. They will then compare the weekly energy data collected during the first month—while the marketing campaign is underway—as well as for the month and a half following—to see what behavior changes stick— with data collected during the same periods in 2016.  The results will be shared with campus and published in a research journal.

Like many U.S. campuses, Puget Sound has tried in the past to reduce energy use by promoting competitions between residence halls, such as the 2016 Battle of the Bulbs. However despite the allure of prizes such as a zero-waste pizza party for the winners, student behavior does not often change on a longer-term basis, researchers have found.

It is hoped this experiment will be more effective by involving student residents in the self-auditing of their own energy use, so they have a clear awareness of their habits and what effect these have, and by helping them set and maintain reasonable energy-use targets.

The project, supported by Puget Sound’s Sustainability Services and Office of the Associate Deans, is one of many efforts that are part of Puget Sound’s “experiential learning” initiative. This “high-impact” learning puts students to work in real-world settings or involves them in hands-on campus projects, with time set aside to reflect upon how such projects align with their academic learning.

Photos on page: From top right: Thomas Hall, a residential living and learning hall; the student researchers, faculty advisers, and representatives from Puget Sound Energy and Independent Colleges of Washington; Trimble Hall, residential and events hall (photos by Ross Mulhausen, University of Puget Sound).




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Don’t skimp on college need grants; expand them


The News Tribune, April 29, 2017

Editorial Board


Our region is blessed with a banquet of choices when it comes to higher-ed.

Within a 35-mile radius of downtown Tacoma, there are two technical colleges, a half dozen community colleges, a handful of private and public universities, and dozens of certificate programs ranging from machining and manufacturing to massage therapy.

Despite all these post-secondary opportunities, less than 40 percent of Tacoma School District graduates take advantage and stick with it until the end.

Cost is the big reason. It’s why the state need grant program was established in 1969. Recipients who’ve made it through the post-secondary gantlet will tell you the aid made a life-changing difference.

“It has given me a clear path to the American dream,” Anna Nepomuceno, a North Tacoma mother of three, told our Editorial Board last week. A need grant enabled her to study at Tacoma Community College and will carry her through graduation in June at University of Washington Tacoma.

But since 2007, the state budget has underfunded the program. In 2006, only 2 percent of eligible students were denied a need-based grant; by 2011, some 30 percent of students weren’t getting them. At the same time, Washington was losing ground on college affordability.

An outcry from students, parents, teachers, education administrators and politicians followed, but their voices were disparate and muffled.

Enter the College Promise Coalition. Established in 2011, the advocacy group formed for the purpose of increasing postsecondary enrollment. These leaders in education, business and labor correctly view expanding access to education beyond 12th grade as an investment in Washington’s future.

The Legislature must have heard them, because in 2013 it adopted an ambitious goal: that at least 70 percent of adults in Washington, ages 25-44, would possess a postsecondary credential or degree by 2023.

We applaud the vision. Stable career paths require completing four-year or two-year degrees or vocational training programs.

But reaching that benchmark will take more than a wish list. It will take money.

Which is why, without blinking, the coalition is asking state lawmakers for an additional $200 million to fully fund state need grants over the next two years. That’s a roughly one-third increase over the status quo. It would allow another 24,000 eligible Washingtonians to obtain need grants.

So far, nobody in Olympia is biting. Gov. Jay Inslee proposed an increase of $116 million over the next two years, the House countered with $50 million and the Senate stood pat with a big, fat zero.

Instead, the Senate GOP proposal adds college enrollment slots. Its allocation of $28.9 million over two years would add 1,800 spots at the state’s four-year universities for students of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

If lawmakers must choose between enrollment slots and need grants, the latter should take precedence. More than half of all need grants are used at community and technical colleges. This is where most low-income, minority and first-generation students embark on their education trek.

Need grants are weighted toward the poorest families; there are no merit requirements. If a student belongs to a household earning less than half of the median adjusted gross income (currently $59,000 for a family of four), the student is eligible for a grant covering 96 percent of tuition costs.

Without need grants, options for low-income students are few: They can run up debt, postpone or forgo education, or apply for federal aid or institutional scholarships. Alas, federal aid is on shaky ground, as President Donald Trump proposes slashing Pell Grant funding by $3.9 billion.

The idea that most students can eke out a college payment plan with no outside support, whether from family or a need grant, is about as old as “Leave it to Beaver.” Though it can be done, research shows students who work full-time are at a greater risk of stopping or dropping out.

We’d love to see student need grants funded at 100 percent; the state’s workforce development would be better for it.

At a time of many competing obligations, and with K-12 school topping the list, we can accept where the governor has landed. But the House — and certainly the Senate — don’t go far enough.

For too many high school seniors, 2017 will be the last time they walk through the hallowed halls of learning. Lawmakers have it in their power to change that.





Letter: The Value of the State Need Grant


The Chronicle

April 28, 2017


The cost for attaining a postsecondary certificate, credential, two- or four-year degree is increasingly out of reach for many students.  At the same time, the need for a post high school education is critical in order to meet our state’s current and projected skill and educated workforce demands.  Without a postsecondary education, it is impossible to participate in today’s economy, support a family, or enjoy the benefits of contributing to a community.  

Access to a postsecondary education is directly related to affordability. Thankfully, we have the State Need Grant program to address this issue for eligible low income students.  The State Need Grant is the state’s largest aid program, and its reach extends from traditional students to working-age adults.  

My name is Patricia J. Gitchel, I am attending Centralia College and I am a recipient of the State Need Grant. I feel very privileged to be able to receive the State Need Grant.  The grant helps me cover the costs of tuition, books and related expenses. 

The State Need Grant provides me with an opportunity to attain a degree and move forward with my career goals.  Through the support I receive from the grant, Centralia College, and TRIO, I am on a path to success.   It is difficult to balance school and work obligations. The support I receive from the State Need Grant allows me to focus on my studies, attain a degree, all the while providing greater stability in my life.

The State Need Grant provides the lifeline I need to complete my degree, and give back to the state the investment made in my education.  I am one of the lucky ones to receive support from the State Need Grant, many others are not so lucky. 

Not all eligible students receive the State Need Grant. These students are incurring debt, holding down part- and full-time jobs, and working hard to balance family, work, and school demands.   Without support from the State Need Grant, many will likely drop out, including myself, leaving school with debt. Worse yet, some will make the choice to not attend college, attain a degree, and thus have little opportunity to actively engage in the economy.

Continued support for the State Need Grant will increase access and address affordability.   It is critical to improving educational attainment in Washington, while serving first time students, as well as working-age adults. I know, I am one of them, and one who is grateful for the support I receive from the state and Centralia College.   

Patricia Gitchel 






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Fund State Need Grant, the backbone of college financial aid


The Seattle Times, April 17, 2017

Ana Mari Cauce, Stephen V. Sundborg and Shouan Pan


Tom Rochat, veteran, native of Poulsbo and trained welder, was hit hard when the economy crashed in late 2007. Desperate to feed his family, and despite bad knees from serving as an Army paratrooper, he took a job doing apartment maintenance.

While working on the building’s roof, he fell four stories, doing further damage to one knee and making manual labor impossible. But Tom’s aptitude with computers led him to apply to University of Washington Tacoma, and financial aid from the state made it possible for him to attend. After graduating in 2013 with a degree in information technology, Tom was hired by the Seattle tech company Avanade, where he has risen to the position of senior specialist.

Tom’s story has a happy ending. Yet too many Washington students don’t get the same opportunity to fulfill their potential. The state Legislature can increase the opportunities for many by fully funding the State Need Grant.

Each year, the State Need Grant benefits tens of thousands of students and families. Created more than 40 years ago, it provides financial assistance to students with household incomes below 70 percent of the state’s median income, currently $59,000 for a family of four. It is available to all Washington students — students like Nayeli Cervantes, who became the first person in her family to attend college when she enrolled at Seattle University, and Kim Hines, who was raised in foster care but was able to use state aid to graduate from Whatcom Community College before transferring to SU to pursue a career in improving foster care. The breadth and flexibility of the State Need Grant has made the program a national model for need-based access programs.

But for years, the State Need Grant has been underfunded by the state. Last year, more than 24,000 eligible students were denied funding. Indeed, every year since 2009, at least a quarter of eligible students have not received grants due to lack of state funding. This means Washington residents who could be earning a degree from one of the state’s community colleges, public or independent universities, and improving their own and their family’s economic prospects, must find other funding options or miss out on opportunities.

This lack of funding hits low-income, minority and first-generation college students in Washington especially hard. Many of these students have no resources to fall back on, so those who do find a way to enroll often struggle to balance school and work. This contributes to higher drop-out rates, which can leave students worse off than never enrolling at all.

Higher education is critical to building a competitive workforce, especially here and now. Our high-tech, innovation-driven economy is creating opportunities for state residents that we are squandering by failing to invest in education. This year, a projected 50,000 jobs in high-demand fields will go unfilled in Washington for lack of qualified applicants.

The State Need Grant is the backbone of financial aid for Washingtonians and provides a path to higher education and opportunities in our dynamic economy.

An additional $100 million a year, less than half of 1 percent of Washington’s annual budget, is needed to serve all 93,000 eligible students who represent communities from across the state — from Colfax to Tacoma, Skagit Valley to Kennewick.

Fulfilling our commitment to these students will also mean leveraging privately raised dollars for targeted investments into other student achievement programs, stretching our limited resources even further. The State Need Grant is a critical resource not only for the individuals it serves but for our entire state.

For the sake of tens of thousands of Washingtonians, their families and their communities, the Legislature must fully fund it.





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Students urge full funding of State Need Grants

Empire Press, March 29, 2017

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service


OLYMPIA — Students receiving the State Need Grant are urging the Washington State Legislature to fully fund the grant program so that more students can afford higher education.

Last year, 24,000 students were eligible but did not receive grants because the program wasn’t properly funded.

The State Need Grant makes higher education attainable for people who come from low-income families.

Norma Heredia says she didn’t consider applying to Whitworth University until she heard of this grant. She’s the first in her family to go to college and says it means a lot to her parents.

“Pursuing higher education is one of the ways that my parents can see that their hard work has paid off, and I think that goes for all families in low income,” she states. “So it’s seeing their children prosper and going through that upward mobility.”

Senate Bill 5820, currently before the Rules Committee, would add a grade-point average requirement to the grant. Opponents of this bill argue it might leave more students without aid.

According to a 2014 legislative report, students receiving the grant have a low dropout rate. From 94 to 98 percent of full-time students re-enrolled in the spring.

Last month, grant recipients gathered at the Capitol to speak in front of the Legislature and with lawmakers.

Megan Filippello, a senior at Walla Walla University, was there among more than 150 of her peers. She hopes other students will get to benefit from this program as she has.

“I think it will make a difference to a lot of students in Washington who are like me and who would really benefit from it, and it could make the difference, you know, in whether they go to college or not,” she states.

A bill in the House, HB 1214, would expand need grant recipients by 12,000 students a year beginning in 2022. It has been in the House Committee on Higher Education since January.

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed the Legislature set aside $146 million in the budget this biennium to expand the grants’ reach from 70,000 to 84,000 students.




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Editorial Board

SINCE 1969, the state Legislature has sent generations of low-income students up the educational escalator, offering deep college financial aid for those lucky enough to get it. The State Need Grant is a smart policy with a huge return on investment for 68,000 students now at two- and four-year institutions.

Those students graduate at higher rates than non-supported peers. They are disproportionately (38 percent) students of color. And they universally say they are now prepared for careers.

But the State Need Grant has a significant problem. Because of budget constraints, it is a first-come, first-served policy that reaches only about 70 percent of the eligible students. Currently, more than 24,000 eligible students at state institutions are on a waiting list — losing out on a random and potentially life-changing lottery.

The Legislature has chipped away at the backlog, and this year should try to end it, even at an eye-popping cost of about $100 million.

What the Legislature should not do is impose a GPA cutoff for State Need Grants. A bill, SB 5820, has raced through the Republican-held state Senate with a new 2.5 GPA threshold for Need-Grant aid. Currently, recipients of Need Grants get a special review — and, typically, special counseling at their institution — if they fall below 2.0, but don’t automatically lose their grants.

Sen. John Braun, the Centralia Republican who chairs the Senate budget-writing committee, said at a recent hearing on the bill, “Moving from a 2.0 GPA to a 2.5 does not seem to me to be a gross injustice when we know there are other students with higher GPAs that are not being served.”

It’s a fair question: there probably are higher-performing students on the waiting list. But instead of rationing aid, it should be expanded to include the ones being left behind. Braun has the power to end the waiting list for Need Grants.

There is plenty of evidence that the Need Grant is working as intended, without a GPA cutoff. At all levels of higher education, graduation rates for Need-Grant recipients are higher than for Need Grant-eligible students on the waiting list, according to a study by the state’s Education Research and Data Center. More than 60 percent of State Need Grant recipients enrolled at four-year institutions graduated within five years, comparable to national averages.

Students, researchers, universities and the state’s Council of Presidents, which represents the four-year institutions, have protested the proposed GPA threshold. Up to 7,000 students could stand to lose vital Need Grants. If faced with losing that aid, students may predictably gravitate toward easier classes, avoiding the STEM courses that feed the highest-demand professions.

The State Need Grant for generations has provided an educational and economic ladder for low-income students. Instead of rationing that aid, the Legislature should expand it.





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Fund the State Need Grant — we are worth the investment


The Seattle Times, February 24, 2017

By Kalei Gordon (UW Bothell), Megan Filippello (Walla Walla University), Ana Ramirez (Western Washington University), and Norma Heredia (Whitworth University)

STUDENTS from across the state traveled earlier this month to Olympia to advocate for full funding of the Washington State Need Grant. We called it Student Advocacy Day, and more than 150 of us lobbied our legislators.

We came from high schools, private four-year institutions, public research and regional institutions, and community and technical colleges. We spent the day testifying and meeting with legislators to share our personal stories of how the grant has affected the trajectory of our lives. Many legislators said they recognized the significant positive benefit this financial aid program provides for low-income students and the state. But too many remain uncommitted to providing the funding to serve the 24,000 eligible but currently unserved students.

We urge the Legislature to fully fund the State Need Grant so that all eligible students have the opportunity to go to college. The State Need Grant is, simply put, a lifesaver for many students. Without the grant, lower-income students like us could not pursue higher education, or if they do, they struggle to make ends meet, often dropping out before completion.

Many of us are the first in our family to attend college, and our families lack the financial resources to support our education and career dreams. Everyone who has a desire to further their education should have that opportunity; lack of funds should not be the determining factor. Receiving the grant allows us to devote our efforts to our studies, focusing on graduating on time and in good standing. With financial assistance from the state, we are able to thrive.

In addition to receiving the opportunity for higher education to better our lives, the State Need Grant program is a smart investment for the state, as well. Need Grant recipients are a cross-section of the state. We come from every community; we represent all backgrounds, all ethnicities and all areas of study. We are documented and undocumented, first generation, traditional and nontraditional students. We will become Washington’s doctors, educators, engineers, policymakers, and police officers. We are Washington’s future, and we are worth the investment.

Our experiences in Olympia showed us that using our voices as students can have a positive impact. We stand with eligible students who do not receive a grant and ask that they be afforded the same opportunities we have been.

We strongly urge the Legislature to fully fund the Washington State Need Grant. An investment in Washington’s college students is a smart investment in Washington’s future. Without full funding, the grant’s intended reach cannot be fully realized, and real students’ lives will be negatively altered. Funding the State Need Grant will help extend the opportunity for success in higher education to all students regardless of their income. It is the right thing to do for students, and the right thing to do for Washington.




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State Need Grant deserves a boost






Access to higher education is a public good


The Seattle Times, September 8, 2017

State Senator David Frockt, 46th District