Welcome! Here you can learn about our “beyond high school” program and how to support our students.


Our 2017-18 scholarship recipients and mentees, now attending college, University, and beyond – with the help of our community of volunteers, mentors, donors, tutors, school staff, and local businesses. 

About our Program

Our program began in 2007 to help Seattle refugees and immigrants continue their education after high school, so they may more fully join our community, reach their potential, and help support their families.  We offer financial scholarships for college or vocational education, and ongoing mentoring.  Any student who starts in Seattle at the World School and graduates from any Seattle public high school is eligible to apply.

We believe that while financial support helps, money alone is not enough.  Supportive ongoing relationships are also key to ensuring that students are successful.  All recipients are offered 1:1 mentorship.  This includes help with: navigating college entry; connection to or direct tutoring;  securing resources such as books or computers;  job, internship, or other scholarship applications; English conversation and pronunciation practice; connection to places and people in students’ chosen areas of study; and general encouragement and support.  We work to ensure that all of our students who intend to start school in the fall actually do.

We provide ongoing funding throughout a student’s education.  Students can reapply each year.  Students with adequate financial aid or scholarships from other sources may still participate in the mentoring program.  Since all of our students are very low income, we help with educational expenses not covered by financial aid, and help students avoid taking large loans.

The program is totally volunteer-run, so ALL funds raised go directly to students.  We raise funds through direct donations and sales of our “Art Cards for Scholarships”.  Each year, we disburse all the funds raised that year to our awardees. We help students with tuition, books, supplies, laptops, tools, and transportation.  (Note:  we now have a 6% overhead charge from the Alliance for Education, which is our only administrative expense.)

We are a 501c3 non-profit and the Alliance for Education is our fiscal agent.  Since 2007, we’ve raised and distributed over $130,000 to over 130 students.

We collaborate with and learn from other college access and persistence programs, including CAN (College Access Now), College Bound, College Success Foundation, Fostering Scholars, Juma, the Seattle College Access Network, and faculty at the University of Washington’s and Seattle University’s Education Departments.

Applications for 2018-19 are now available and will be due April 23rd.

Who We Serve

We serve newcomers from around the world who attended the Seattle World School (formerly Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center) because they spoke little or no English when they arrived here.  Our awardees are refugees and immigrants, very low income, and most had interrupted or limited educational opportunities.  The World School serves students from 11-21 years of age.

Students who learn English, go on to graduate from any Seattle public high school, and dream big about continuing their education after high school are eligible for our program. Now that the Seattle World School has a pathway to high school graduation, we’re committed to helping our SWS graduates seek higher education, too.  All students who attended the SBOC/SWS since 2007 are eligible.

Our application process is competitive.   Students must demonstrate that they are hard workers, committed to learning, and goal directed. We support academic high achievers, as well as those who are making an effort and need that extra leg up to succeed. Our awardees range from those who will need to do remedial work at the community college level, to those able to go directly to a four year University.

Most of our students attend college or vocational programs in the Seattle area, due to financial constraints or desire to stay close to families.  This enables mentors to maintain relationships with students on a face to face basis.  Most students begin at community colleges, and many are able to transfer to University after two or three years.

Student Quote

2017-18 Scholarship Winners and Program Highlights

This year forty seven students were awarded scholarships and/or continued participation in our mentoring program.  Some awardees are already in college, and others are just starting out, and a few have just graduated.  Some are prior awardees; most are new to the program.  We awarded graduates of Seattle World School, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, Nathan Hale, Garfield, Franklin, and Ingraham High Schools.  Students’ countries of origin are Burkina Faso, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Palestine/Jordan, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Somalia, and Vietnam.

This year, awards ranged from $500 to $2500, depending on financial need, after FAFSA, WASFA, and other scholarships were taken into account.  Our careful interviewing and financial assessment process insured that funds went to the greatest needs.  We helped students meet their unmet needs, avoid higher loans, and pay for books, supplies, laptops, transportation, and supplies.  Students are attending the University of Washington (Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell); Washington State University; North, Central, and South Seattle Colleges; Bellevue, Shoreline, and Everett community colleges; Renton Technical College; Seattle Pacific University; and Northwest University.

All students were offered mentorship.  Beginning college is a challenge for any student, but for students whose English isn’t perfect and whose parents know little about our educational system, it’s even harder.  We helped students make sure they understood their financial aid and how to access funds, how to save money on books, how to register for classes, and where to find tutoring and support centers.  We helped students practice their English, prepare for job interviews, and look for internships.  We learned a lot from our students, and developed many long term relationships.

Our scholarship recipients have come a long way – from wars and religious persecution, political turmoil, interrupted education, and economic hardships – to a new country with a new language and culture.    Our students have overcome the odds to graduate from high school and begin college or vocational training.   They demonstrate a commitment to continued learning and improving their lives. They want to give something back, too.  Most are the first in their families to attend college and will be role models for their communities.

How to Contribute

We need your help to meet the needs of our growing applicant pool.  Each year we give away all we have, so we are starting our campaign for 2018-19 as of now.  We love contributions of any size!  You can support students through direct donation (see below) or by purchasing student art cards, made from original artwork done by our students.  This is our “Art Cards for Scholarships” program.  Click Student Art Cards to learn where cards are sold around Seattle.

To make a tax deductible donation to the scholarship fund (Alliance Acct. #838, managed by the Alliance for Education), you can…

  • use a credit card  — CLICK here to donate online through the Alliance for Education website, with your donation designated to Alliance Account #838


  • write a check payable to Alliance Account #838 and send to Alliance for Education, 509 Olive Way, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98101
  • donate through a workplace program, including:
    Washington State Combined Fund Drive #1481175  (e.g. UW employees), or
    Microsoft Give:  Search for ‘Alliance for Education’ and when requesting match, enter ‘Seattle World School Scholarship – 838’ in the comments field.  Note:  We can register with your workplace matching program if you let us know.
  • donate through Seattle Foundation’s GIVE BIG program in May

Purchase Student Art Cards at participating locations in Seattle and all proceeds will support the Scholarship program.  Individuals, organizations, or businesses can also order cards directly by contacting Nancy Peterfreund, npf2@comcast.net.

THANK YOU so much for your support!