This study focuses on Washington high school graduates (from 2008 and 2009) who entered Washington public higher education and earned at least 15 credits within six years after graduation, and who never attended a private or out-of-state institution. Students “persisted” if they accumulated 45 credits from any Washington public institution of higher education within six years of graduating high school. Students who started at 4-year institutions “completed” if they earned a bachelor’s degree, and those who started at a community or technical college (CTC) “completed” if they earned a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or a long-term certificate.
Forty percent of students who first entered a Washington public 4-year university or received need-based financial aid in their first year. Students who received need-based aid, on average, persisted and completed their degrees at rates slightly lower than those who did not receive need-based aid, and had slightly lower high school academic records (as indicated by high school GPA and whether they met the WASL 10th grade assessment standards).
Thirty-five percent of students who started at a Washington public CTC (and subsequently earned at least 15 credits) received need-based financial aid in the first year. Students who received need-based aid, on average, persisted at the same rate and completed at higher rates than those who did not receive need-based aid, and had slightly lower high school academic records.