King County Promise

What is the King County Promise? 

By 2024, almost 90% of living wage jobs in King County will require some kind of postsecondary education and postsecondary credentials can unlock the door to living wage jobs.  We know that the keys to completion are both scholarships/aid and high quality supports. The recent state Workforce Education Investment Act is a huge leap forward in financial access.  But it’s not enough to get the results we want. Students also need support from adults to navigate the college access system, in order to take advantage of tuition supports and successfully navigate to and through their postsecondary credentials.

The King County Promise is a supports system that  fills in the gaps by providing what students tell us they need to be successful:

  • High School, College and Community Based Organization advisors for historically under-served students and young people who can use help  to get back on track towards a degree/credential
  • Alignment between K-12 and college systems to eliminate barriers and facing students, to ensure equitable access and success through long term system change


King County Promise

Click Here for the November 2019 Update

King County Promise Supporters:

K–12 Districts

Auburn School District

Federal Way Public Schools

Highline Public Schools

Kent School District

Renton School District

Seattle Public Schools

Tukwila School District

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Higher Education

Bellevue College

Green River College

Highline College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

North Seattle College

Renton Technical College

Seattle Central College

South Seattle College

Shoreline Community College

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College Possible

College Success Foundation

Community Center for Education Results

Hey Mentor

Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness

Puget Sound College and Career Network

Puget Sound Educational Service District

Seattle Education Access


Summer Search

UW Dream Project

UW GEAR UP Achievers

United Way of King County

Washington Bus

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King County Promise Updates:

As we enter the 2019-2020 academic year, the Puget Sound College and Career Network is celebrating with many across the region that King County Promise, was recently awarded $112.4 million dollars over a 15 year period to provide advising support for underserved high school and college students to get them to and through college! 

The King County Promise is a reflection of years of collaboration between community organizations, education advocates, and K-12 and postsecondary systems leaders to identify and address systematic educational challenges facing young people in the region. Along with King County Promise, the King County Council awarded:

  • $153.8 million towards the development of early learning facilities

  • $29.6 million towards community-based organizations working with students in the K–12 grades

  • $22.6 million towards administration and evaluation

Studies show that “promise” programs, when they provide increased access to financial support, advising and removal of system barriers, lead to significant improvements in retention, especially for students who are first in their families to attend college, and students who are most impacted by poverty and racism.  The recently-released Let Us Succeed report, based on survey results of more than 7,000 youth of color and first-generation college students across South King County, showed that 96 percent want to earn a postsecondary credential, yet face significant barriers and need more robust advising.  

“We are going to change the game for students in this region, ensuring that our systems are easier to navigate and that students are more equitably supported in their pursuit of postsecondary education,” stated Kyla Lackie, Director of Postsecondary Readiness at Puget Sound College & Career Network (PSCCN). 

The King County Promise is a broad-based effort of hundreds of students, educators, community-based organizations and systems leaders collaborating since 2017, staffed by the PSCCN and championed by the Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness. PSCCN works with students, educators, community organizations, schools, districts, colleges and state-level organizations to remove barriers so that students of color, first-generation college students, and students impacted by poverty have the opportunity and support to access and obtain postsecondary credentials. 

“Through King County Promise, we now have an incredible opportunity to impact the young people who have been underserved in our region; the legacy left by this work will be more equitable policies and practices, leading to a transformation of the educational student support system and equipping young people with the degrees and credentials to empower them to be key parts of our local economy,” stated Mercy Daramola, Manager of PSCCN.

“Our region’s college access and completion system will be among the strongest in the nation and will serve as a model for equitable and highly-supportive systems for student success,” said Kevin McCarthy, President of Renton Technical College and Co-Chair of the Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness.  

PSCCN & the Coalition thank the King County Council for this substantial investment in young people who have been historically underserved. Approximately 45 percent of the $112.4 million invested in the King County Promise will go to K–12 supports ($50.6 million), 45 percent to postsecondary supports ($50.6 million), and 10 percent to community-based organizations working with students of color, first-generation college students, and students impacted by poverty ($11.2 million).  

“We are thrilled that the Council has made such a substantial investment in postsecondary advising through the King County Promise,” said Danika Martinez, Program Director for Seattle Education Access. “This is an opportunity for us as a community-based organization to work alongside school districts and higher education to provide more support for young people across King County.”

In passing this legislation, the Council specified that PSTAA-funded programs must support students in “vulnerable and underserved populations,” including children and youth of color; those who are impacted by poverty or homelessness; are in the foster care, child welfare, or juvenile justice system; have disabilities; identify as LGBTQ; or are otherwise vulnerable children and youth. Further, community-based organizations funded by PSTAA will be led by employees with lived experiences similar to those of students in the opportunity gap.

PSCCN looks forward to continuing to work with K-12, higher education, community-based, students, and advocates across the county to further design the King County Promise and to launch a new model of support and systems change that will address opportunity gaps in our region. Many more details to come but for now, please join us in celebrating this historic investment in more equitable postsecondary access and success!

Receive King County Promise email updates. 

King County Promise Summary (September 2019)

Contact us for more details.