Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan unveiled a proposal Monday to guarantee Seattle high school graduates two years of free tuition at a local community college.
The program, which she calls the “Seattle Promise,” would pay for up to 90 credits at a Seattle-area community college. It’s modeled off of South Seattle College’s “13th Year Promise Scholarship” program, as well as state and national plans.
Durkan told media that she expected the Seattle Promise would cost between $4.3 to $5 million in its first year, rising to $7 million in the future, and that no new sources of revenue would be needed to pay for it.
“We think we can do it within the budget that exists,” Durkan said.
She identified several potential funding sources, including Sound Transit 3 money earmarked for educational purposes and Seattle’s new soda tax.
Seattle Promise includes not just tuition, but counseling supports to make sure students choose programs and classes that meet their needs.
Students graduating from three Seattle high schools already qualify for a first free year of classes at South Seattle College.
In February, Mayor Ed Murray proposed expanding that to include students who graduate from West Seattle High School.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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