How we know it works
WSOS removes barriers to education and helps Washington students forge their path to high-demand STEM, health care, and trade careers in Washington state. Opportunity Scholars receive financial assistance, career training, and mentorship services that uniquely position them to meet our state’s workforce shortages.
Our outcomes prove our model works.
The students powering the future of Washington
Opportunity Scholars have a diverse array of lived experiences – some are direct from high school, others are reskilling late in life, some are parents, some were born and raised in WA, while others have immigrant stories. But what they all have in common is that they want to succeed.
“Receiving the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship meant that there were no limits to what I could dream, work, and achieve. With this incredible financial aid, my goals became bigger than life. I did not limit myself then and plan to continue with that open mindset of always moving forward, no matter the obstacles that may arise.”
— Kayleen, Opportunity Scholar
Most of the Scholars we serve are first-generation college students, students of color, and women.
- 67% of our Scholars are first-generation college students
- 70% are students of color
- 57% are women
“This scholarship means a lot to me. As a foster care youth and refugee, I have limited resources. This scholarship allows me to pursue my goals and focus on education without the added financial stress I might also be facing. This scholarship gives me hope and allows me to see myself as someone who can lead by example and bring hope to others in my community, if I can do it, they will also do it.”
— Mapenzi, Opportunity Scholar
We know our scholarships and support services are helping Opportunity Scholars persist and find a job after graduation.
Baccalaureate Scholars are two times more likely to graduate in 4-years relative to their peers.
96% of Opportunity Scholars who participated in the Scholar Lead peer mentorship program persisted from year one to year two, which is eight percentage points higher than those who did not.
91% of Scholars who participated in the Skills that Shine (StS) industry mentorship program, told us they feel more prepared to seek relevant work thanks to our program.
Fueling Washington’s economy
As of November 1, 2022, more than 8,000 Scholars have graduated across our scholarship programs in the fields our economy needs most.
- 1,400+ scientists
- 1,500+ healthcare professionals
- 1,500+ engineers
- 1,000+ computer scientists
- 100s of technicians in the trades, IT, and more
“I am currently working in science and engineering in the radiation detection field. Because of the [scholarship], I achieved my goal of becoming a mechanical engineer. Today, I have the career I am passionate about and it has allowed me to work in interesting and meaningful projects.”
— Isidro, Opportunity Scholar
Five years after graduating, Baccalaureate Scholars typically earn two times what their families made when they entered college, with an average salary of nearly $100K.
Career & Technical Scholarship recipients surveyed report that within nine months of earning their credential, they earned more than double of what their family made when they entered college, making an average salary of almost $56K within one year of graduating.
WSOS changes lives.
Every Opportunity Scholarship impacts a Washington student, their family, and their entire community.
“I’m currently in the pharmaceutical industry field and working as a pharmacy assistant. Furthering my education helped me achieve my goals, because without the education I would not have a great job or career.”
— Ruby, Opportunity Scholar
Soaring into the future
WSOS will serve 25,000 Opportunity Scholars by 2025 OR nearly 35,000 Opportunity Scholars by 2030
By 2025, we will work to ensure that 95% of Opportunity Scholars will be employed full-time 9 months after graduation. Among Scholars who are employed in high-demand STEM or health care fields, we’ll work to ensure that 95% of them remain in Washington state
We are working to maintain and increase the number of first-generation students, students of color, and rural students we serve in each of our scholarships. We know these students have been historically excluded from opportunities in Washington state. We are strategically investing to ensure we can improve access to these groups.
For each scholarship, we’re working to increase the number of Opportunity Scholars whose gender is underrepresented in their field. We hope to increase the number of women and non-binary students in the trades, engineering, and computer science, while also increasing the number of men and non-binary students in health care.
The proof is in our outcomes
If you want more information on our most recent year’s impact, you can review our Impact Report and Legislative Report.
Our annual Impact Report is created each year for our partners, volunteers, and donors. It includes Opportunity Scholar Impact stories, data, and partner stories from the past year.
Our annual Legislative Report provides an overview of the demographic, gender, socioeconomic, age, and regional characteristics of all Opportunity Scholars since the scholarship was first created in 2011. This report is produced for the Washington state legislature every year in December.