95% of FuturesNW students over the past four years have been admitted to a college of their choice immediately after high school, a rate 2x higher than the national/state average for low-income students.
A Multifaceted Approach
The path to higher education shouldn’t be a secret, so we make sure every student has the information and guidance they need to succeed in high school, college, and beyond. We achieve these goals through academic mentoring, family engagement, as well as through workshops such as QuickStart to College and Financial Literacy (FAFSA/WASFA) events. In 2018 FuturesNW added two new projects, From One to Many and Whatcom Jobs for Whatcom Students with the potential to expand our mission in new and meaningful ways.
Our coaches work with high school low-income, first-generation students from under-served populations to build confidence, boost motivation, and provide hands-on support to help them succeed in high school and continue on in pursuing post-secondary educational opportunities. Students receive guidance in learning necessary skills and concepts for college-level study, visit campuses to meet with college students and faculty, gain assistance with achieving strong grades, college admissions applications, financial aid, and scholarship applications.
Through attending and presenting at College/Career fairs, Lummi Nation outreach in the From One to Many program and community outreach through Whatcom Dreams: Whatcom Jobs for Whatcom Students, FuturesNW is uniquely positioned to reach a multitude of families and engage in dialogues about college and beyond.
QuickStart to College
QuickStart to College was initiated in 2012 modeled after a program in Chattanooga, Tennessee that provided a summer opportunity for students to begin the college application process for high school seniors. Originally, the program was funded by a grant from the Washington State Mentors and was staffed by FuturesNW and WWU. Today, the program is staffed and funded in a collaborative approach between FuturesNW, Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, Skagit Valley College, Bellingham Technical College, and area education foundations so that students can attend the program free of charge.
The summer 2017 QuickStart to College program was the largest program to-date thanks to the partnership with the GEAR UP program from the Burlington-Edison schools where they sent 23 students as part of their Federal GEAR UP grant.
FuturesNW helps students who qualify for the College Bound Scholarship by recruiting them into our QuickStart to College program. The College Bound Scholarship makes a tremendous difference in funding higher-education for low-income and foster care youth in the State of Washington. QuickStart nearly doubles (43%) the possibility that College Bound Scholars in our region will direct enroll in college compared to their low-income peers who don’t participate in our supplemental program.
Our 2020 summer QuickStart application will be available in the spring 2020, and more details will be posted once the planning is complete.
Financial Literacy Events
Throughout the fall and spring, FuturesNW partners with the 12th year campaign to put on financial literacy events in which financial aid experts and admissions staff from local higher education institutions provide on-site personalized support for families completing the FAFSA or WASFA. See our calendar for a list of current events.