The Highline College Foundation this week announced its highest amount of giving within the last three years – through 30 different scholarships, they awarded $182,500 to 68 Highline College students for the 2023-24 academic year.
Twice as many students applied for Foundation scholarships compared to last year. Thanks to increased donations and new scholarships offered, the Foundation was able to award more than twice the amount from last year. However, more funds are needed to keep pace with the number of students needing financial support.
“It is apparent from the increase of applications this cycle that our upgrade to data integration and single sign-on with our scholarship platform, AwardSpring, was a positive modification to our scholarship process that has removed barriers and improved access for students to apply,” Tanisha Williams, Highline’s Scholarships and Alumni Relations Program Specialist, said. “I look forward to seeing these numbers continue to grow.”
Of the students who applied, 66% identified as female, with 30% identifying as male and 4% undisclosed/unspecified. Approximately 3% were Native American, 4% Pacific Islander, 18% Hispanic, 20% White, 26% Asian and 29% Black. Most applicants were between the ages of 16-24 at 60%, with 25-39-year-olds representing 28%, 40-59-year-olds at 11%, and 60-plus-year-olds at 1%.
The most considerable scholarship awarded this cycle was the $4,500 Connell Family Scholarship, also new this year. Just over 20 students won this award. Applicants had to be enrolled in a Professional-Technical program or have a clearly stated career goal to qualify for the scholarship. They also had to have already earned at least 45 credits toward their degree and plan to enroll in at least 10 credits in the fall quarter.
“There is not a student I know who isn’t trying to stay afloat with increased prices, especially the housing crisis and rent prices,” said Emily Hamilton, a Highline College student and recipient of the Connell Family Scholarship. “This scholarship helps to ensure I am able to finish my last few quarters and provides me with the option of an unpaid internship because so many companies have recently pulled their internships due to the economy.”
Hamilton, 38, lives in Federal Way and is pursuing her Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Global Trade and Logistics, planning to graduate in winter 2024.
“A heartfelt thank you,” Hamilton said of the Foundation and Connell Family. “Not only for myself but for the rest of the students in the Highline community. Our success is your success.”
Highline College student Irvin Morales Sandova, 19, agrees that the scholarship he received through the Highline College Foundation is paramount to his persistence through college.
“When I got the email about the scholarships being offered, I decided to apply right away,” the Tukwila resident said. “Without the scholarship, it would have been a struggle to pay for the rest of my terms at Highline; I have been paying out of pocket since I’ve been attending. With this scholarship, I am able to stay on track and pursue something that I am passionate about without having to worry so much about being able to afford it.”
The Foundation awarded Morales Sandova the Francis Albin Business/Accounting scholarship, which will help him as he pursues his Associate of Applied Science in Business, intending to graduate in fall 2024.
Student funding wouldn’t be possible without those who donate to the Foundation.
“We have been excited to work with several donors, both long-time and new, who helped create new scholarships for Highline students,” Josh Gerstman, executive director of the Highline College Foundation and vice president of Institutional Advancement at Highline College, said. “New donors include the Connell Family, David and Jeanne Markley (David is a Highline Alumnus), and SPEEA ACE. Twenty-six students have earned awards from these new scholarships, focusing on individuals with stated career goals and those pursuing engineering and aerospace.
“These donors join a community of families and organizations, such as Soroptimist of Seattle Southside and the Luce Family, whose generosity has steadily increased the number of students receiving support in the last five years. As the 2023-2024 school year kicks off, Thunderbirds soar to new heights.”
In addition to funds awarded through the spring scholarship application, the Foundation gives students more than $80,000 annually through an emergency tuition program available every quarter.