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Governor signs Leavitt bill expanding assistance programs for struggling college students

OLYMPIA – Governor Jay Inslee signed into law expansion of programs to assist college students experiencing homelessness and those who were previously in foster care. HB 1166, sponsored by Rep. Mari Leavitt (D-University Place), builds upon existing pilot programs at community and technical colleges and four-year institutions. Those programs aid students with essential needs, including access to housing, laundry facilities, locker rooms, showers, technology, reduced-priced meals, and case management services.

“Prior to the pandemic, there were too many students on the verge of dropping out of their programs, struggling with the basic necessities of shelter, food, and warmth. Since COVID-19, that has only gotten worse. I am grateful the governor has signed my bill to help those homeless and foster care students so that they can stop worrying about those basic needs and can instead focus on finishing their programs, pursuing the job or career of their dreams, and support themselves, their families, and their communities. It’s critical we do everything we can to remove barriers for our students – both straight out of high school or coming back for retraining,” said Leavitt.

Existing programs are located at Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Edmonds College, South Puget Sound Community College, Walla Walla Community College, and Yakima Valley College. Four more pilot programs will launch in community and technical colleges and two more at four-year institutions.