King County Promise

King County Promise graphic of books and laptop

What is the King County Promise? 

The King County Promise is a visionary, comprehensive and equitable K–12 to postsecondary strategy aimed at addressing systemic barriers to access and completion for young people in King County who have historically been underserved. The King County Promise components are all research-based solutions and rooted in student feedback about the biggest gaps and barriers in our region. The King County Promise includes:

1. Enhanced K–12 and college navigation support system for historically underserved students:
  • High-quality navigation and advising services to help historically underserved students navigate from high school to and through college. The King County Promise would provide resources for targeted, individualized support at local high schools and colleges for students who need it the most.
  • Intensive community based supports to help students get “back on track” to a credential. The King County Promise provides resources for community based organizations that support opportunity youth and other underserved young people in accessing and succeeding in postsecondary education.
2. Student funding for tuition, plus living expenses for those most in need: 
  • A “last dollar” scholarship to help low-income young people in King County pay for college tuition. Tuition for most low-income students is covered through other sources; however, for students at or below median family income in King County, gaps remain that prevent access and completion. Through the King County Promise, all young people in King County age 26 and under with median family income at or below the King County median would be eligible to receive up to two years of tuition support at any public two or four-year college in Washington State.
  • A supplemental grant of $1,000 per year for non-tuition expenses to help young people with the greatest financial need cover living and life expenses like housing, childcare and transportation. This grant would be available to young people with the highest financial need, with an expected family financial contribution of zero.
3. Cross-system improvement efforts, including:
  • Improving K–12 college readiness preparation, ensuring that more students graduate ready for college-level coursework, and streamlining of college course placement practices. 

Click Here for the March 2019 Update

Why the King County Promise? 

Today, more than ever, a postsecondary credential such as a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree is critical to access living-wage jobs. It’s projected that 740,000 jobs will open in Washington over the next five years, most requiring a postsecondary credential.

Unfortunately, postsecondary education remains out of reach for many King County students. According to the most recent data, only 29% of students in this region earn a college degree by their mid-20s. For students of color and other historically underserved students, the rates are even lower. In order to address these inequities, many institutions in the county are partners in the Road Map Project, a regional education initiative in South King County with the goal of helping 70% of students in the region earn a college degree or career credential by 2030.

The King County Promise is supported by the following:

K–12 Districts

Auburn School District

Federal Way Public Schools

Highline Public Schools

Kent School District

Seattle Public Schools

Tukwila School District

Higher Education

Bellevue College

College Success Foundation

Highline College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Renton Technical College

Seattle Colleges

Shoreline Community College

Contributing Partners

Hey Mentor

Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness

Puget Sound College and Career Network

Puget Sound Educational Service District

Road Map Project

Seattle Education Access


The Washington Bus

What’s Happening and What’s Next?

  • Continuing to share the concept and seeking feedback from students, parents, community members, policy makers, partners and education leaders.
  • Refining the model and finances based on feedback.

How to Get Involved

Click here for visual summary of the King County Promise (updated November 2018)

Click here for the Executive summary report of the King County Promise (updated January 2019)