WSR 20-06-054
[Filed March 2, 2020, 3:25 p.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 19-24-009.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Chapter 250-84 WAC, College bound scholarship rules.
Hearing Location(s): On April 7, 2020, at 12:30 p.m., at the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), 917 Lakeridge Way S.W., Olympia, WA 98502.
Date of Intended Adoption: May 29, 2020.
Submit Written Comments to: Sarah Weiss, P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98502, email, fax 360-753-7808, by April 6, 2020.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Crystal Hall, phone 360-753-7852, fax 360-753-7808, TTY unavailable, email, by March 31, 2020.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The agency proposes to update chapter 250-84 WAC, College bound scholarship rules. This proposal is necessary to bring the current rules into alignment with legislation since the last update in 2010 and to guide current program implementation. Changes include, but are not limited to:
Clarifying what college bound scholarship is meant to cover.
Updates from 2019 HB [E2SHB] 1311, 2018 HB [2SHB] 1293.
Clarified deadline and application process.
Clarified agencies and district roles and responsibilities.
Aligned with new Washington college grant rules (proposed chapter 250-21 WAC).
Reasons Supporting Proposal: There have been substantial changes in program requirements and delivery since the last WAC revision in 2010. The current WAC is outdated and needs to be updated to reflect these changes.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 28B.118.060.
Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 28B.118 RCW.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: WSAC has already implemented many of these changes due to recent legislation. The rule updates will align guidance for districts, schools, and other partners.
Name of Proponent: WSAC, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Sarah Weiss, WSAC, 360-753-7630; Implementation and Enforcement: Becky Thompson, WSAC, 360-753-7840.
A school district fiscal impact statement is not required under RCW 28A.305.135.
A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328.
This rule proposal, or portions of the proposal, is exempt from requirements of the Regulatory Fairness Act because the proposal:
Is exempt under RCW 19.85.025(3) as the rule content is explicitly and specifically dictated by statute.
Explanation of exemptions: Chapter 28B.118 RCW provides specific content of rules.
March 2, 2020
Sarah R. Weiss
Associate Director of
College Access and Support
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-010Purpose.
The college bound scholarship as authorized by chapter 28B.118 RCW is designed to inspire and encourage Washington middle school students from low-income families to dream big and aspire to continuing their education beyond high school. The early commitment of state funding ((for tuition))of tuition (at public rates), required fees, and five hundred dollars intended to apply towards books and materials may alleviate some of the financial barriers preventing students from considering college as a future possibility.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-020Definitions.
"((Board))Agency" means ((higher education coordinating board))student achievement council, a Washington state agency, as established under chapter 28B.77 RCW.
"C average" means a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
"FAFSA" means Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
"High school graduation" means students must graduate from a public high school, private high school approved under chapter 28A.195 RCW, ((having met))or approved home school program under chapter 28A.200 RCW requirements to earn a high school diploma as defined in ((WAC 180-51-061 or 180-51-066, whichever is applicable))the current year's chapter 180-51 WAC.
"Legal guardian" means the person appointed by the court to take legal action on behalf of and be responsible for a minor.
"Median family income" means the median income for Washington state, adjusted by family size and reported annually in the federal register and used that year for the administration of the ((state need))Washington college grant program.
"Office" means the office of student financial assistance, created by RCW 28B.77.090 within the direction of the student achievement council.
"OSPI" means office of superintendent of public instruction.
"Program" means the college bound scholarship program.
"Tuition and fees" means tuition, building, operating, service and activity fees as are used for purposes of determining the ((state need))Washington college grant award.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-030Eligible applicant.
(1) Washington students ((in 2007-08 and thereafter)) may apply who are:
(a) Enrolled in the seventh ((and))or eighth grade, or in ninth grade (under limited circumstances defined in RCW 28B.118.010), in a public ((or))school, private school as approved by chapter 28A.195 RCW or home school as defined by chapter 28A.200 RCW; and
(b) Meet the income eligibility as defined in subsection (2) of this section.
((Eligible students enrolled in eighth grade in 2007-08 were granted a one-time extension to sign the pledge during the 2008-2009 school year as ninth graders.))A student in the ninth grade is eligible to sign up for the program, if that student qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches and was previously ineligible during the seventh or eighth grade while a student in Washington.
(2) Seventh ((or)), eighth, or ninth (if previously ineligible as defined above) grade students are eligible to apply if one of these requirements are met:
(a) Family income falls within the monthly or annual standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for eligibility for participation in the free or reduced price lunch program (FRPL); or
(b) ((Student participates in the free or reduced price lunch program; or
(c) Family receives TANF))The student's family receives temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) benefits; or
(((d)))(c) Student is a foster youth.
To determine eligibility in unusual circumstances, or for assistance in defining household size, foster youth status, and other criteria, the ((board will refer students and families to the))office will consult with district or school staff who oversee FRPL, other agencies as needed, students and families as needed, and will refer to the USDA FRPL guidelines.
If a student qualifies in the application year, the information is not required to be updated throughout the middle and high school years. However, income will be verified using the information from the FAFSA or an alternative application provided by the office upon college enrollment. See WAC 250-84-060, eligibility for receipt of scholarship.
(3) Eligible applications are considered complete when ((the signed pledge has been received by the board.
(a) A student must sign a pledge during seventh or eighth grade that commits them to)):
(a) The signed pledge and signature page has been received by the office by the deadline, as determined by the office.
(i) Students who are dependents and meet requirements outlined in RCW 28B.118.010 are automatically enrolled in partnership with the department of children, youth, and families.
(ii) The deadline for the initial application is June 30th of the student's eighth grade year, and students who qualify to apply in the ninth grade year have until June 30th of their ninth grade year to begin an application. Students have until August 31st at the end of their eighth grade or ninth grade, for those eligible to apply during ninth grade, to complete their application.
(iii) Exceptions to the deadline will be made on a case-by-case basis by the office.
(b) All sections of the application including eligibility are filled and the pledge is signed.
(c) The pledge must include the following criteria:
(i) Graduate from high school with at least a C average or as referenced in RCW 28B.118.010.
(ii) No felony convictions.
(((b)))(d) The section of the application that indicates eligibility must be completed.
(((c)))(e) The pledge must be signed by a parent or legal guardian to attest the information is true and accurate.
(((d) The signature page for the electronic application, or the signed paper application, must be received by the board.
(e) The deadline for the application is June 30th of the student's eighth grade year.
(i) Electronic applications must be received by June 30th and paper applications must be postmarked by June 30th.
(ii) Missing information for applications received on or before June 30th will be accepted until the student enters the ninth grade year.
Exceptions to the deadline will be made on a case-by-case basis by the board based on extenuating circumstances.))The office shall establish a process through which the office may work with a school counselor or administrator to witness a student's pledge if the parent or guardian's signature is not obtained after multiple, documented unsuccessful attempts. These attempts will be documented in the student's file.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-040Program promotion to eligible students.
The role of the ((board))office, OSPI and school districts related to notification to students, families, and school personnel about the college bound scholarship is defined under chapter 28B.118 RCW.
(1) The ((board shall develop and distribute to all schools with students enrolled in seventh or eighth grade, an application pledge form that can be completed and returned electronically or by mail by the student or the school to the board.
The board will provide K-12 partners, professional associations, and college access programs with program information annually))office shall work collaboratively with statewide partners to support students and their families in signing up for the college bound scholarship and pursue college after high school. These partners could include, but are not limited to, K-12 staff, professional associations, and college access programs.
(2) The office will provide the official program language and requirements to students, families, and these partners by creating publications for and communicating with for students, families, and stakeholders as needed.
(a) The office will communicate with college bound students as may be additionally required in RCW 28B.118.040.
(b) The office shall develop and distribute information regarding the scholarship and materials to support sign-up, in partnership with OSPI, districts, and other nonprofit organizations and agencies, to all schools with students enrolled in seventh, eighth, or ninth grade.
(3) The role of OSPI is to notify elementary, middle, and junior high schools about the college bound scholarship program using methods in place for communicating with schools and school districts.
OSPI will encourage schools and districts to target communications to eligible students to the greatest extent possible((. Methods may include, but are not limited to, personalized letters, integrating the application into student conferences, or holding sign-up events)).
(((3)))(4) The role of each school district is to notify students, parents, teachers, counselors, and principals about the Washington college bound scholarship program through existing channels.
Methods may include, but are not limited to, personalized letters, digital media as available, integrating the application into student conferences, or holding sign-up events.
Notification methods may also include, but are not limited to, regular school district and building communications, online scholarship bulletins and announcements, notices posted on school walls and bulletin boards, information available in each counselor's office, and school or district scholarship information sessions.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-050Tracking of scholars.
The ((statute requires the board and OSPI to))office and OSPI will develop tracking procedures to ensure continued eligibility and to determine compliance for awarding of college bound scholarships (RCW 28B.118.020 and 28B.118.040).
(1) The ((board))office shall:
(a) Develop and implement a student application, selection, and notification process for scholarships.
(b) Collect authorization to release information from the student and parent(s)/legal guardian(s).
(c) Develop ((a web-based application tool and paper)) application tools annually.
(d) Notify applicants of missing information ((in a timely manner))as soon as possible.
(e) Notify applicants of their status of complete application ((in a timely manner))as soon as possible.
(f) Treat applications confidentially and hold in a secure environment.
(g) Provide complete applicants information regarding disbursement of the scholarship and contact information for the ((board))office.
(h) Require applicants to update their address and other contact information with the ((board))office.
(2) OSPI will work with the ((board))office to develop student tracking procedures.
The ((board))office and OSPI will share data regarding the progress of college bound scholarship students such as current school, grade level, grade point average, and expected graduation date on at least an annual basis through high school graduation, following agency protocols for data exchange and security.
(3) The board will track complete applicants and monitor progress toward graduation to determine compliance for awarding of scholarships.
(4) The board will share data and authorized student information from the application for program sign-up efforts and to provide support services to ((scholars))students who have already applied.
(a) The ((board))office will share information with schools and approved college access providers who will provide services to college bound scholarship students to support their academic success, if the proper release of information has been provided by the student and parent(s)/legal guardian(s).
(b) Aggregate data will be provided periodically and as requested to schools, districts, and partners to improve sign-up efforts.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-060Eligibility for receipt of college bound scholarships.
To be eligible to receive the annual scholarship disbursement, college bound scholarship students who have met the requirements outlined in WAC 250-84-030, must:
(1) Graduate from a Washington high school with at least a C average or receive home-based instruction or meet other requirements as noted under chapter 28A.200 RCW or RCW 28B.50.536.
(((2)))(a) Students receiving home-based instruction may be asked to submit additional documentation confirming students meet the C average requirement.
(b) For a student who does not meet the C average requirement, and who completes fewer than two quarters in the running start program, under chapter 28A.600 RCW, the student's first quarter of running start course grades must be excluded from the student's overall grade point average for purposes of determining their eligibility to receive the scholarship.
(2) Have no felony convictions. The office shall work with other appropriate organizations and agencies to confirm eligibility.
(3) File a FAFSA (((see priority consideration under WAC 250-84-070(1))))or an alternative application provided by the office.
(((3)))(4) Be accepted to an institution participating in the ((state need))Washington college grant program within the state of Washington (requirements outlined in WAC ((250-20-013))250-21-026).
(((4)))(5) Enroll no later than the fall term (as defined by the institution) one academic year following high school graduation.
For example, students graduating by August ((2012))2019 have until fall ((2013))2020 to begin using the scholarship.
(a) Students who graduate early will be assumed to follow the time frame of their senior year cohort. However, if they enroll early, the four-year scholarship will need to be used within five years of their initial enrollment date.
(b) ((Scholarships will not be disbursed prior to fall 2012.
(c))) Students will be considered to have enrolled upon earning credit(s) for the term or receiving the first scholarship disbursement, whichever comes first.
(((5)))(6) Have an annual family income at or below ((sixty-five percent))the percentage of the state's median family income stated in RCW 28B.118.010(5) as determined by the income reported on the FAFSA or an alternative application provided by the office and verified by the institution the student is attending((. See subsection (6)(d) of this section)).
(((6)))(7) Receive the college bound scholarship for no more than four academic years within a five-year period.
(a) The four-year scholarship may be used during any terms within the five-year period, even if enrollment is not continuous.
(b) The scholarship must be used within five academic years of August of the high school graduation year.
For example, students who graduate from high school in ((2011-12))2018-19 must begin college enrollment by fall ((2013))2020, and have through ((spring of 2017))summer of 2024 to receive the scholarship.
(c) The total college bound award is limited to twelve quarters, eight semesters or equivalent, prorated for part-time enrollment within the five-year period. In the event of a school closure, refer to WAC 250-21-011.
(d) If students do not meet the income requirement ((in subsection (5) of this section)) in any year within the five-year period, they may still receive the scholarship for any year(s) they do meet the income requirement. Receipt of the four-year scholarship does not have to be continuous.
(((7)))(8) Comply with the other eligibility criteria to receive the college bound scholarship as outlined for the ((state need))Washington college grant program in WAC ((250-20-011))250-21-011 including, but not limited to, requirements related to residency, undergraduate student status, academic program eligibility including the theology prohibition, enrollment level, satisfactory academic progress, and repayments.
The requirements for ((state need))Washington college grant that do NOT apply to college bound scholarships are the equivalent of five-year limitation for ((state need))Washington college grant under WAC ((250-20-011(6)))250-21-011(9) since the college bound scholarship is a four-year award.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-070Scholarship award.
(1) The college bound scholarship is intended to combine with the ((state need))Washington college grant program and other state aid, as determined by the office, to ensure eligible students have the opportunity to receive sufficient state financial aid to meet the cost of full tuition (at public rates), required fees, plus five hundred dollars for books each year. ((The award is intended to replace unmet need, loans, and at the student's discretion, work-study.))
(2) The value of each college bound scholarship shall be determined by the ((board))office annually based on the amount of tuition and fees at public colleges and universities (as used for ((state need))Washington college grant purposes) plus five hundred dollars, less the amount of ((state need))Washington college grant and any other state aid the student ((qualifies for based on the student's MFI, and less any other state aid))is awarded.
(((a) In order to receive the maximum state need grant for which the student qualifies, the student must meet the financial aid priority consideration deadline for the institution the student plans to attend.
(b))) College bound scholarship awards will be prorated for part-time attendance as outlined in WAC ((250-20-041 (4)(b)))250-21-041(4).
Sector college bound scholarship award amounts (such as public research, regional and two-year, and private career and private four-year) shall follow base award amounts determined for the ((state need))Washington college grant program.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-080((Appeals.))Requests for review and student complaints.
((Appeals))Requests for review of agency decisions regarding application eligibility for initial sign-up and pledge requirements under WAC 250-84-030 should be directed to the ((board))office in writing within thirty days after notification of the agency decision. ((Appeals))Student complaints regarding scholarship eligibility and awards under WAC 250-84-060 and 250-84-070 shall follow the process outlined under WAC ((250-20-071))250-21-091 for ((state need))Washington college grant purposes.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-090Grant disbursement to institutions.
(1) Cash requests and reimbursements will follow procedures similar to ((state need))Washington college grant.
(2) A student-by-student ((reconciliation will be completed each term and filed with the board))fund reconciliation must be completed by the institution at the time payments are reported using the office's established process and no later than the end of each term.
(a) Record level reports must be filed with the office as re-quested.
(b) A final student-by-student reconciliation must be filed with the office at the end of each academic year.
(3) Recalculations as a result of awards in excess of tuition charges shall follow the tolerance outlined in ((state need))Washington college grant rules or guidance.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-17-080, filed 8/16/10, effective 9/16/10)
WAC 250-84-100Program administration and audits.
(1) The staff of the ((board))office under the direction of the executive director will manage the administrative functions relative to college bound scholarship.
(2) The ((board))office will review institutional administrative compliance as outlined in WAC ((250-20-061))250-21-061.
Any student who has obtained a college bound scholarship through means of willfully false statement or failure to reveal any material fact affecting eligibility will be subject to applicable civil or criminal penalties and repayment similar to processes and procedures outlined in WAC 250-21-051.