CERTIFICATION OF ENROLLMENT
ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 6141
2020 REGULAR SESSION
Passed by the Senate March 7, 2020
Yeas 48 Nays 0
President of the Senate
Passed by the House March 4, 2020
Yeas 93 Nays 3
Speaker of the House of Representatives
I, Brad Hendrickson, Secretary of the Senate of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 6141 as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on the dates hereon set forth.
Secretary of State
State of Washington
ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 6141
AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE
Passed Legislature - 2020 Regular Session
State of Washington
2020 Regular Session
BySenate Higher Education & Workforce Development (originally sponsored by Senators Randall, Hasegawa, Keiser, Stanford, Frockt, Wilson, C., and Sheldon; by request of Lieutenant Governor)
READ FIRST TIME 02/06/20.
AN ACT Relating to expanding access to higher education; amending RCW 28A.230.090
; adding new sections to chapter 28B.77
RCW; adding a new section to chapter 28A.230
RCW; adding a new section to chapter 28A.300
RCW; and creating new sections.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature recognizes the increasing importance of postsecondary education as a tool for economic resilience and mobility, as well as the financial barriers many students in our state face in pursuing postsecondary education. In light of the 2019 expansion of the Washington college grant, it is also important to share information about new financial aid opportunities available to prospective postsecondary students. The legislature also acknowledges Washington's low completion rate of the free application for federal student aid in comparison with other states, as well as other states' successes in increasing these rates by expanding supports for students and their families. Research has shown that increased completion of student aid applications in other states has led to increases in high school graduation and college matriculation, especially for students in underrepresented groups. Given these facts, the legislature intends to undertake several actions to improve financial aid awareness and to increase coordination in this area among schools, districts, agencies, and institutions of higher education.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2.
A new section is added to chapter 28B.77
RCW to read as follows:
(1) The council shall adopt a centralized online statewide calculator tool for the purposes of estimating federal Pell grant and Washington college grant awards for all public four-year institutions of higher education in Washington state.
(2) The tool must provide an estimate of state and federal aid based on student and family financial circumstances.
(3) The calculator tool must be published on a web site managed by the council.
(4) The financial aid calculator must be for estimation purposes only and is not a guarantee of state aid. Neither this section nor the estimates provided by the financial aid calculator constitute an entitlement on the part of the state, and no institution, agency, or their agents or employees may be held liable for any estimates created through its usage.
(5) The financial aid calculator must be designed for anonymous use and may not be used to collect or share any data.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3.
A new section is added to chapter 28B.77
RCW to read as follows:
(1) In collaboration with financial aid experts from public four-year and two-year institutions of higher education, as well as independent colleges in Washington state, the Washington student achievement council shall develop clear, consistent definitions for institutions of higher education to adopt regarding financial aid package award letters.
(2) By July 1, 2021, all public four-year and two-year institutions of higher education, as well as all independent colleges in Washington state, must adopt uniform terminology and a standardized template for financial aid award packages so that students may easily compare them.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4.
A new section is added to chapter 28A.230
RCW to read as follows:
(1)(a) Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, all school districts with a high school must provide a financial aid advising day, as defined in section 5 of this act.
(b) Districts must provide both a financial aid advising day and notification of financial aid opportunities at the beginning of each school year to parents and guardians of any student entering the twelfth grade. The notification must include information regarding:
(i) The eligibility requirements of the Washington college grant;
(ii) The requirements of the financial aid advising day;
(iii) The process for opting out of the financial aid advising day; and
(iv) Any community-based resources available to assist parents and guardians in understanding the requirements of and how to complete the free application for federal student aid and the Washington application for state financial aid.
(2) Districts may administer the financial aid advising day, as defined in section 5 of this act, in accordance with information-sharing requirements set in the high school and beyond plan in RCW 28A.230.090
(3) The Washington state school directors' association, with assistance from the office of the superintendent of public instruction and the Washington student achievement council, shall develop a model policy and procedure that school district board of directors may adopt. The model policy and procedure must describe minimum standards for a financial aid advising day as defined in section 5 of this act.
(4) School districts are encouraged to engage in the Washington student achievement council's financial aid advising training.
(5) The office of the superintendent of public instruction may adopt rules for the implementation of this section.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5.
A new section is added to chapter 28A.300
RCW to read as follows:
(1)(a) Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, within existing resources, and in collaboration with the Washington student achievement council, the office of the superintendent of public instruction shall coordinate a financial aid advising day with all school districts with a high school.
(b) For the purposes of this section and section 4 of this act, a "financial aid advising day" means a day or series of days between September 1st and December 1st of each year that includes, but is not limited to, dedicated time during regular school hours for staff to:
(i) Provide information to twelfth grade students on the free application for federal student aid, the Washington application for state financial aid, and the college board's CSS profile;
(ii) As appropriate and whenever possible, assist twelfth grade students in completing the free application for federal student aid and the Washington application for state financial aid; and
(iii) In conjunction with the Washington student achievement council, distribute information on the Washington college grant and demonstrate the use of the college financial aid calculator created in section 2 of this act.
(c) Each school district may choose the date or series of dates on which to hold a financial aid advising day.
(2) The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall coordinate with the Washington student achievement council whenever possible to assist districts in facilitating opportunities outside of regular school hours for parents to take part in seminars on completing the free application for federal student aid and the Washington application for state financial aid. Whenever possible, districts shall provide spoken language interpreter services for limited English-speaking families.
(3) Schools must allow students over the age of eighteen to opt out and parents or guardians of students under the age of eighteen to opt their student out of scheduled financial aid advising day activities.
(4) A student may not be penalized for failing to complete financial aid applications or for opting out of activities under subsection (3) of this section.
(5) Educational staff, including instructional, administrative, and counseling staff, may not be assessed or penalized on the basis of students' completion of financial aid forms or students' decisions to opt out under subsection (3) of this section.
(6) In the administration of the financial aid advising day, personally identifiable student or family information must be protected in accordance with state and federal privacy laws.
and 2019 c 252 s 103 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) The state board of education shall establish high school graduation requirements or equivalencies for students, except as provided in RCW 28A.230.122
and except those equivalencies established by local high schools or school districts under RCW 28A.230.097
. The purpose of a high school diploma is to declare that a student is ready for success in postsecondary education, gainful employment, and citizenship, and is equipped with the skills to be a lifelong learner.
(a) Any course in Washington state history and government used to fulfill high school graduation requirements shall consider including information on the culture, history, and government of the American Indian peoples who were the first inhabitants of the state.
(b) Except as provided otherwise in this subsection, the certificate of academic achievement requirements under RCW 28A.655.061
or the certificate of individual achievement requirements under RCW 28A.155.045
are required for graduation from a public high school but are not the only requirements for graduation. The requirement to earn a certificate of academic achievement to qualify for graduation from a public high school concludes with the graduating class of 2019. The obligation of qualifying students to earn a certificate of individual achievement as a prerequisite for graduation from a public high school concludes with the graduating class of 2021.
(c)(i) Each student must have a high school and beyond plan to guide the student's high school experience and inform course taking that is aligned with the student's goals for education or training and career after high school.
(ii)(A) A high school and beyond plan must be initiated for each student during the seventh or eighth grade. In preparation for initiating that plan, each student must first be administered a career interest and skills inventory.
(B) For students with an individualized education program, the high school and beyond plan must be developed in alignment with their individualized education program. The high school and beyond plan must be developed in a similar manner and with similar school personnel as for all other students.
(iii)(A) The high school and beyond plan must be updated to reflect high school assessment results in RCW 28A.655.070
(3)(b) and to review transcripts, assess progress toward identified goals, and revised as necessary for changing interests, goals, and needs. The plan must identify available interventions and academic support, courses, or both, that are designed for students who are not on track to graduate, to enable them to fulfill high school graduation requirements. Each student's high school and beyond plan must be updated to inform junior year course taking.
(B) For students with an individualized education program, the high school and beyond plan must be updated in alignment with their school to postschool transition plan. The high school and beyond plan must be updated in a similar manner and with similar school personnel as for all other students.
(iv) School districts are encouraged to involve parents and guardians in the process of developing and updating the high school and beyond plan, and the plan must be provided to the students' parents or guardians in their native language if that language is one of the two most frequently spoken non-English languages of students in the district. Nothing in this subsection (1)(c)(iv) prevents districts from providing high school and beyond plans to parents and guardians in additional languages that are not required by this subsection.
(v) All high school and beyond plans must, at a minimum, include the following elements:
(A) Identification of career goals, aided by a skills and interest assessment;
(B) Identification of educational goals;
(C) Identification of dual credit programs and the opportunities they create for students, including eligibility for automatic enrollment in advanced classes under RCW 28A.320.195
, career and technical education programs, running start programs, AP courses, international baccalaureate programs, and college in the high school programs;
(D) Information about the college bound scholarship program established in chapter 28B.118
(E) A four-year plan for course taking that:
(I) Includes information about options for satisfying state and local graduation requirements;
(II) Satisfies state and local graduation requirements;
(III) Aligns with the student's secondary and postsecondary goals, which can include education, training, and career;
(IV) Identifies course sequences to inform academic acceleration, as described in RCW 28A.320.195
that include dual credit courses or programs and are aligned with the student's goals; and
(V) Includes information about the college bound scholarship program, the Washington college grant, and other scholarship opportunities;
(F) Evidence that the student has received the following information on federal and state financial aid programs that help pay for the costs of a postsecondary program:
(I) Information about the documentation necessary for completing the applications; application timeliness and submission deadlines; the importance of submitting applications early; information specific to students who are or have been in foster care; information specific to students who are, or are at risk of being, homeless; information specific to students whose family member or guardians will be required to provide financial and tax information necessary to complete applications; and
(II) Opportunities to participate in sessions that assist students and, when necessary, their family members or guardians, fill out financial aid applications; and
(G) By the end of the twelfth grade, a current resume or activity log that provides a written compilation of the student's education, any work experience, and any community service and how the school district has recognized the community service pursuant to RCW 28A.320.193
(d) Any decision on whether a student has met the state board's high school graduation requirements for a high school and beyond plan shall remain at the local level. Effective with the graduating class of 2015, the state board of education may not establish a requirement for students to complete a culminating project for graduation. A district may establish additional, local requirements for a high school and beyond plan to serve the needs and interests of its students and the purposes of this section.
(e)(i) The state board of education shall adopt rules to implement the career and college ready graduation requirement proposal adopted under board resolution on November 10, 2010, and revised on January 9, 2014, to take effect beginning with the graduating class of 2019 or as otherwise provided in this subsection (1)(e). The rules must include authorization for a school district to waive up to two credits for individual students based on a student's circumstances, provided that none of the waived credits are identified as mandatory core credits by the state board of education. School districts must adhere to written policies authorizing the waivers that must be adopted by each board of directors of a school district that grants diplomas. The rules must also provide that the content of the third credit of mathematics and the content of the third credit of science may be chosen by the student based on the student's interests and high school and beyond plan with agreement of the student's parent or guardian or agreement of the school counselor or principal.
(ii) School districts may apply to the state board of education for a waiver to implement the career and college ready graduation requirement proposal beginning with the graduating class of 2020 or 2021 instead of the graduating class of 2019. In the application, a school district must describe why the waiver is being requested, the specific impediments preventing timely implementation, and efforts that will be taken to achieve implementation with the graduating class proposed under the waiver. The state board of education shall grant a waiver under this subsection (1)(e) to an applying school district at the next subsequent meeting of the board after receiving an application.
(iii) A school district must update the high school and beyond plans for each student who has not earned a score of level 3 or level 4 on the middle school mathematics assessment identified in RCW 28A.655.070
by ninth grade, to ensure that the student takes a mathematics course in both ninth and tenth grades. This course may include career and technical education equivalencies in mathematics adopted pursuant to RCW 28A.230.097
(2)(a) In recognition of the statutory authority of the state board of education to establish and enforce minimum high school graduation requirements, the state board shall periodically reevaluate the graduation requirements and shall report such findings to the legislature in a timely manner as determined by the state board.
(b) The state board shall reevaluate the graduation requirements for students enrolled in vocationally intensive and rigorous career and technical education programs, particularly those programs that lead to a certificate or credential that is state or nationally recognized. The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure that students enrolled in these programs have sufficient opportunity to earn a certificate of academic achievement, complete the program and earn the program's certificate or credential, and complete other state and local graduation requirements.
(c) The state board shall forward any proposed changes to the high school graduation requirements to the education committees of the legislature for review. The legislature shall have the opportunity to act during a regular legislative session before the changes are adopted through administrative rule by the state board. Changes that have a fiscal impact on school districts, as identified by a fiscal analysis prepared by the office of the superintendent of public instruction, shall take effect only if formally authorized and funded by the legislature through the omnibus appropriations act or other enacted legislation.
(3) Pursuant to any requirement for instruction in languages other than English established by the state board of education or a local school district, or both, for purposes of high school graduation, students who receive instruction in American sign language or one or more American Indian languages shall be considered to have satisfied the state or local school district graduation requirement for instruction in one or more languages other than English.
(4) Unless requested otherwise by the student and the student's family, a student who has completed high school courses before attending high school shall be given high school credit which shall be applied to fulfilling high school graduation requirements if:
(a) The course was taken with high school students, if the academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes, and the student has successfully passed by completing the same course requirements and examinations as the high school students enrolled in the class; or
(b) The academic level of the course exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes and the course would qualify for high school credit, because the course is similar or equivalent to a course offered at a high school in the district as determined by the school district board of directors.
(5) Students who have taken and successfully completed high school courses under the circumstances in subsection (4) of this section shall not be required to take an additional competency examination or perform any other additional assignment to receive credit.
(6) At the college or university level, five quarter or three semester hours equals one high school credit.
and 2019 c 252 s 504 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) The legislature finds that fully realizing the potential of high school and beyond plans as meaningful tools for articulating and revising pathways for graduation will require additional school counselors and family coordinators. The legislature further finds that the development and implementation of an online electronic platform for high school and beyond plans will be an appropriate and supportive action that will assist students, parents and guardians, educators, and counselors as the legislature explores options for funding additional school counselors.
(2) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the office of the superintendent of public instruction shall facilitate the creation of a list of available electronic platforms for the high school and beyond plan. Platforms eligible to be included on the list must meet the following requirements:
(a) Enable students to create, personalize, and revise their high school and beyond plan as required by RCW 28A.230.090
(b) Grant parents or guardians, educators, and counselors appropriate access to students' high school and beyond plans;
(c) Employ a sufficiently flexible technology that allows for subsequent modifications necessitated by statutory changes, administrative changes, or both, as well as enhancements to improve the features and functionality of the platform;
(d) Include a sample financial aid letter and a link to the financial aid calculator created in section 2 of this act, at such a time as those materials are finalized;
(e) Comply with state and federal requirements for student privacy;
(((e)))(f) Allow for the portability between platforms so that students moving between school districts are able to easily transfer their high school and beyond plans; and
(((f)))(g) To the extent possible, include platforms in use by school districts during the 2018-19 school year.
(3) Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, each school district must ensure that an electronic high school and beyond plan platform is available to all students who are required to have a high school and beyond plan.
(4) The office of the superintendent of public instruction may adopt and revise rules as necessary to implement this section.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. If any part of this act is found to be in conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition to the allocation of federal funds to the state, the conflicting part of this act is inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict and with respect to the agencies directly affected, and this finding does not affect the operation of the remainder of this act in its application to the agencies concerned. Rules adopted under this act must meet federal requirements that are a necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state.
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