SEA has two linked programs serving youth: our College Prep Program and our College Success Program. We also provide Gap Scholarships to students in our College Success Program.
Through our College Prep Program, we help youth prepare for higher education and meaningful employment. Our staff members work with each student to create a career and academic achievement plan tailored to their gifts and goals. About half of our students choose a vocational or technical track and the other half choose an academic or professional track. Our goal is to have each student start an appropriate post-secondary program of study on the right foot with the resources and skills they need to succeed.
Beyond helping youth enroll in college, SEA offers ongoing support throughout their college career until they graduate and transition successfully to the workforce. College access is meaningless unless it is followed by retention and graduation. The dropout rate during the freshman year of college is typically high, especially among low-income youth. A failed attempt at college can end up making life worse for the student if the student exits with student loan debt but no diploma and no improved employment. Many of our students do not have the safety net of a supportive family of origin and must rely on community support instead. Our College Success Program provides that community support by offering retention services designed to maximize graduation rates. One of the most common services we provide to students is assistance with the transfer process when they complete their AA or AS degrees and move on to four-year universities. As our program matures, we now also have the privilege of helping our former students apply to graduate school.
With tuition rising at state colleges and financial aid packages shrinking, scholarships are more important than ever. SEA awards financial scholarships to students enrolled in our College Success Program for tuition, textbooks, bus passes, and other basic needs to supplement financial aid so students have enough money to afford safe and stable housing. Students apply for scholarships through SEA by submitting an application form, personal essay, and a budget showing their financial need. Community volunteers serving on our Scholarship Review Committee set scholarship policy, interview candidates, and award scholarships three times per year for fall, winter, and spring quarters.
Kent Learning Center
Renton Youth Source