Education transforms lives.
But the high cost of college forces many students to give up on their dreams. That’s why we’re partnering with donors to create the OC Promise, a scholarship program that covers the gap between financial aid and the first year of tuition and fees at Olympic College. The program also provides support services to help Promise scholars succeed.
We are now in the third year of our pilot program and we’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded! In addition to accepting 30 students from Bremerton High School for the 2021-22 school year, we also offered the program to 23 students from Olympic High School.
How to apply
APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR will open in January for Bremerton and Olympic high school students who expect to graduate in 2022 .
To be eligible for the 2022-23 OC Promise cohort, you MUST:
- Graduate from Bremerton High School or Olympic High School during the 2021-22 academic year AND
- Live in Kitsap County and qualify for in-state (WA) tuition
You MUST complete EACH of the following steps by the application deadline for consideration:
- Submit your Financial Aid Application – FAFSA fafsa.ed.gov or
WASFA readysetgrad.wa.gov/wasfa along with all required documents AND
- Apply for admission to Olympic College at apply.ctc.edu/user AND
- Complete the OC Promise application at olympic.awardspring.com.
Finally, if selected you MUST:
- Meet with an OC Promise Coach to develop an educational plan AND
- Participate in the OC Promise Summer Bridge Program
No. The OC Promise covers the gap between financial aid and tuition and mandatory fees for the first year (three consecutive quarters, starting the fall quarter after high school graduation). The program also provides help with textbooks. Students are responsible for paying for living costs and transportation.
No. You must also complete the applications for admission to OC and for the OC Promise. The FAFSA and/or WASFA determine your eligibility for federal and state aid. The OC Promise application determines your eligibility for the Promise.
Yes. Studies show that high school graduates who enter college immediately are more likely to complete their education.
Yes. Studies show that students who attend school full-time are more likely to be successful and to complete their degree or certificate. Promise students are expected to enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per quarter.
Yes. There are no income requirements for participating in the Promise. However, all applicants are required to submit the FAFSA or WASFA and complete a financial aid application.
No. The Promise pilot program is for first-time college students. However, Running Start students and others who don’t qualify for the Promise cohort might still be eligible for OC Foundation scholarships. To apply, go to olympic.awardspring.com. Scholarship deadlines vary, but are typically due no later than April 30 for the following academic year.
You’ll be notified by the first week of June.
A Promising Future
“I think it will be an incredible opportunity and have a huge impact on our students. It removes the biggest barrier.”
“Imagine being a freshman coming to high school, knowing you can go to college. You build excitement. You’re building this whole vision of not having to work at McDonald’s for the rest of your life.”
“The Promise opens doors and builds connections and gets students into the right programs they need to be successful.”
The OC Promise is a bold plan to provide one free year at OC to Kitsap and Mason county high school graduates. It began with a pilot group of 30 students from Bremerton High School in Fall 2019. Expanding the program to all high schools in Kitsap and Mason counties is dependent upon fundraising.
Here’s what Bremerton High School Counselor Chris Swanson had to say about the potential impact:
What would the OC Promise mean to Bremerton students?
One of the big factors is finances, and I think we will have kids who maybe are just missing the College Bound Scholarship (a state program for low-income students) who will say, ‘Wow, this is totally an option for me.’ And we know that once we get kids enrolled for a year, we can help them navigate from there.
How many Bremerton graduates go on to college or post-secondary training programs?
Over the last five years (as of the class of 2016), the average is 52 percent of our students are enrolling in college versus 60 percent for the state. But 70 percent indicate in the spring of their senior year that their plan is to go to some type of college, so there’s an 18 percent discrepancy. And my experience, over the years, is that the majority of those kids are planning to go to OC, but they don’t get there. Finances would be one primary factor. To me this is a great opportunity. Probably about half of those kids would be great candidates for a program like this.
What percentage of Bremerton students are eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch?
It’s 58 percent for the high school. But we have plenty of kids who don’t meet that cutoff, but they’re not much above it and that’s where the Promise could really make an impact. You have to sign up for the College Bound Scholarship in seventh or eighth grade. Some families who qualified for Free and Reduced Lunch start making a little more and you find out senior year, you’re no longer eligible. You’ve just entered the lower middle class and now you’re penalized for kind of putting things together. That’s where this can give some relief for families and also some hope.