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Puget Sound College & Career Network Newsletter | March 2020
Caring for the Community

Like many of you at your own schools, districts, and institutions, we here at PSESD are navigating the impacts of COVID-19. While collectively we enter a period of uncertainty and anxiety, PSCCN is committed to our roles of supporting you and your institutions, and most importantly our students whose need for postsecondary access will persist beyond the challenges we face today. We appreciate your resilience and creativity as we work in different ways.

Financial Aid Update
  • FAFSA Completion Data - Be sure to keep checking WSAC’s FAFSA Completion Data Dashboard to check your school district's most up-to-date data on FAFSA Completion. Click here to see your school and district’s current completion rate. PSCCN sends monthly reports to district leaders along with priority strategies to support increased completion. If you have an effective strategy to share, please email us at psccn@psesd.org 
  • Financial Aid Demonstration District: We have been working in partnership with Fife School District to identify and implement high impact strategies and data practices to support a 10% increase in financial aid completion rates and a closure of opportunity gaps. We look forward to sharing how more of Fife’s progress and lessons learned in the future. 
  • Financial Aid Texting Service: The Washington Student Achievement Council is offering Otterbot, a free texting service designed to help high school seniors navigate financial aid for college and career education. Students can access otterbot via text message 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting “Hi Otter” to 360-928-7281. 
  • Washington College Grant: It's never too late to apply for the WA College Grant! Students are guaranteed funding, regardless of when they apply. There is no separate application for the Washington College Grant. Students should complete a federal or state financial aid application (FAFSA or WASFA), which colleges will use to determine eligibility and make awards. Applying for financial aid is a critical first step toward an affordable degree or credential. From welding to nursing, from English to computer science—whether an 18-month apprenticeship or four-year college degree—whatever the goal, Washington College Grant can help. (source: WSAC)
  • WASFA Messaging: As the issue of public charge has come back into the news, it is important for us to communicate that students who are undocumented are eligible for the WA College Grant. Below is messaging developed mostly by WSAC to spread the word.
    • Are you a WA student who is not eligible for federal financial aid because of immigration status? You may be eligible for state financial aid!
    • The WA College Grant and College Bound Scholarship are available to students who are not citizens and who meet state residency and program requirements.
    • Complete the WASFA to see if you are eligible.
Postsecondary Readiness Capacity Building
 Data-Informed Postsecondary Readiness Advising pilot: Our work continues with Bethel and Franklin Pierce School Districts, who are working closely with their college and career teams to analyze postsecondary enrollment data to inform their advising practices and services. Thank you Bethel & Franklin Pierce for your ongoing leadership and partnership in this work! If you are interested in learning more about data that can inform your district’s postsecondary work, please contact us at psccn@psesd.org. Check out this new resource from NCAN, summarizing some of the learning from districts around the country: NCAN: The Plans that Matter and the Data that Work - New District-wide Approaches to Student Success Beyond High School.
Opportunities
Ellison Education Grants: Applications are now being accepted with award grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 for use during the 2019-2020 school year. Applications are due March 14th, 2020. 
Get Schooled has an amazing Spring Challenge which is a friendly competition between high schools across the country to help motivate educators to support college and career readiness at their schools. Schools can sign up at any time during the challenge (it runs through May 8). Students can earn weekly prizes and high schools can earn up to a $750 grant by doing so! The application deadline has been extended to give more schools an opportunity to participate.
News from the Region

College Promise Programs and Undocumented Students
By Victoria Ballerini, Miriam Feldblum and Daniel Kent. Click here for more information
About 1 in 5 Washington community-college students were homeless last year.
By Hannah Furfaro. Click here for more information.
Free community college, anyone? Half of Seattle’s public high school seniors apply. 
By Dahlia Bazzaz. Click here for more information.
Washington community-college leader wants to double completion rates - while closing big racial equity gaps. 
By Hannah Furfaro. Click here for more information.

Upcoming Events and Trainings

  • Financial Aid 201: Finish your year strong and make your final financial aid push! This spring PSCCN in partnership with WSAC will be offering a free online financial aid training session regarding verification and award letters to help you assist your students in successfully completing the FAFSA/WASFA. See below for details. 
  • College and Career Readiness - Leading Through the Master Schedule to Ensure Equity and Access: OSSI will be hosting a workshop at the Renton PSESD location providing professional development for district and building leaders on analyzing data and building master schedules to colleges and career readiness opportunity gaps. See below for details
  • College & Career Leaders Network Meeting: PSCCN convenes district college and career leaders across Pierce and King Counties to share best and promising practices, provide peer consultation, and share resources in order to: improve equity in college and career readiness and postsecondary enrollment and support more students of color in accessing high-quality postsecondary options. Thank you to those of you who attended the most recent meeting. If you are the district lead for college and career in your district and are not already receiving calendar invites and updates for this group, please email psccn@psesd.org. Our next meeting date is scheduled for Monday, April 20th.