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

APPLICATIONS FOR 2022-23 will be available by mid March and due May 19, 2022.

Some of our recent students –more photos coming when we can meet in person freely!

The SWS Scholarship/Mentoring Program

Since 2007, we’ve been helping Seattle refugees and immigrants continue and succeed in their education after high school, so they may more fully join our community, reach their potential, and help support themselves and their families.  We offer financial scholarships that pay for whatever is needed to continue college or job training, and ongoing mentoring.  Any student who attended Seattle World School, and graduates from any Seattle public high school, is eligible to apply.  Scholarships are awarded based on need and commitment to continued education and training.

We try to help our students succeed by:

  • getting to know every applicant by the end of senior year in high school
  • navigating college entry — help starting senior year to enable start of school in the fall
  •  “gap funding” — filling gaps after financial aid and other scholarships are taken into account
  • offering funds for basic necessities like food, transportation, rent, health related expenses, childcare, or other needs
  • ensuring every student has a laptop and access to the internet
  • offering 1:1 and group mentoring to every recipient — support, tutoring, help with applications, looking for internships, letters of recommendation, English conversation and pronunciation…whatever is needed
  • enabling students to renew scholarship every year until they’ve reached their educational goal
  • connecting students to available resources at their respective institutions
  • purchasing tools and other non-traditional supports for vocational students

This year, it is particularly important to understand why our students need financial help despite having access to financial aid and/or the Seattle Promise.

Government financial aid is simply not enough
to make attending college or vocational school easy for our students.  Seattle Promise only covers tuition gaps for students who don’t get enough federal/state financial aid.  Why is tuition not enough? There are many other expenses for students to be able to attend school While trying to continue their education in a new language, most students work 20-40 hours a week to support themselves or their families, commute long hours to school and work (from less expensive distant neighborhoods), help with child care for siblings or extended family, and provide translation and support for non-English speaking parents.  Books, food, transportation, rent, and utilities are expensive and continued education is a luxury.

We are totally volunteer-run, so donated dollars go far.  We are a steering committee of eight volunteers, supported by many volunteer mentors, tutors, and fundraisers.  Our committee encompasses many professional backgrounds: school principal, teachers, education/evaluation consultant, social worker, school counselor, vice principal, nurse/administrator, strategic planner and organizational consultant, ELL teacher, artist, landscape architect, and former nun.

We get to know our students and their needs, so we can serve as an informed “conduit” between those who want to help this population, and those deserving of help.

ALL funds raised go directly to students*.  We raise funds through: direct donations and from sales of our “Art Cards for Scholarships”.  Each year, we disburse all funds raised to our awardees. (*Note:  we now have a 6% charge for fiscal stewardship from the Alliance for Education, 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 $300,000 to over 250 students. We help students with tuition, books, supplies, laptops, tools, transportation, and basic needs — now more important than ever — such as rent, food, utilities, internet, and small medical/dental expenses.

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

Who We Serve

We serve newcomers from around the world who attended the Seattle World School (SWS) because they spoke little or no English when they arrived.  Our awardees are refugees and immigrants, very low income, with interrupted or limited educational opportunities.  SWS serves students from 11-21 years of age.  Some SWS alumni choose to transfer to other area middle or high schools when they have sufficient English; others choose to stay at SWS through graduation.  Any student who has ever attended the SWS is eligible, regardless of what Seattle public high school they graduate from.

Our application process is competitive.   Students must demonstrate that they are hard workers, committed to learning, and goal directed. We support not only academic high achievers, but also those who are making an effort and need that extra leg up to succeed.  Our awardees range from those who need to do remedial work at community college, 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 – or through technology, during the pandemic.  Most students begin at community colleges, and many are able to transfer to University after two or three years.

Student Quote

2021-22 update

In this challenging year, over 60 students are participating in our program. It’s a tribute to their tenacity, commitment, and adaptability. Our program has also adapted. This year we are helping with basic survival for many students — food for them and their families, rent, laptops, internet – whatever it takes to make it possible for students to continue their education. We’ve also enabled rolling admissions this year, since some students weren’t able to begin school in the fall. Through it all, our mentors and tutors are doing a fantastic job – helping as needed in a myriad of ways.

Our generous donors really made a difference this year — THANK YOU so much for your continued support, and thank you to our new supporters. Our students are grateful!

We served graduates of Seattle World School, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, Nathan Hale, Garfield, Roosevelt, and Franklin High Schools. Our students’ countries of origin include: Cambodia, China, Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Laos, Mali, Mexico, Palestine/Jordan, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Awards ranged from $600 to $4000 depending on need, after FAFSA, WASFA, and other scholarships were taken into account.  Our careful interviewing and financial assessment process insures that funds go where they are needed most.  We’re helping students with rent and utility payments, food cards, laptops, as well as helping pay for tuition, books, supplies, tools, tests, glasses, health related expenses, and transportation.

Our students attend University of Washington (Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell); North, Central, and South Seattle Colleges; Bellevue, Shoreline, and Edmonds community colleges; and Renton Technical College. They are budding doctors, medical researchers, construction managers, electrical engineers, computer programmers, information managers, cyber security experts, dental hygienists, nurses, auto mechanics, business developers, accountants, aviation technicians, nursing assistants, surgical assistants, social workers, health advocates, and much more.

All students were offered mentoring, and many participated this year.  Starting (and continuing) college was more challenging this year — online classes are extra hard for students whose English isn’t perfect. Mentoring this year meant Zoom interviews, lots of emailing, texting, and phone calls. Reaching college staff in counseling, registration, or financial aid offices was extra hard.

We did our best to help students access online resources or connections at their schools, understand financial aid and how to access funds, pick classes, and write appeals when faced with difficult circumstances. We provided tutoring for math and physics, negotiated with landlords, found small jobs for students (gardening, etc.); we helped with transfers from community college to UW. 

This year’s application process is about to get underway. We anticipate 50 new graduates from Seattle World School, along with graduates of other Seattle high schools who started at SWS. These students will join the current program for our largest group to date.

We’ll continue to provide updates as needed. For more information, or to learn how to get involved, please contact the project Director, Nancy Peterfreund at npf2@comcast.net.

How to Contribute

Our program is growing and we need your help.

Each year we give away all we have, so we are starting our campaign for 2022-23 as of now.  We love the link below), a check, employer’s matching programs, donor advised funds), 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 the link below to donate online through the Alliance for Education website; scroll down under “group” to find Seattle World School Scholarships 838.
    link for donation: https://www.alliance4ed.org/give/school-account/


  • write a check payable to Alliance for Education Acct. #838 and send to Alliance for Education, 509 Olive Way, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98101


  • Donate through WashingtonGives, held each May.  We’re listed under Seattle World School Scholarships.


  •  Donate from a donor advised fund (DAF) such as Fidelity Charitable. Search for: Alliance for Education, our fiscal sponsor. Make sure you indicate that the gift should go to Account #838: Seattle World School Scholarships. Our tax ID is: 91-1508191. Electronic transfers can also be arranged. If you make a donation in this way, please feel free to let us know so we can make sure it gets to us and is deposited in our account. (npf2@comcast.net)


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.

Let us know if your workplace matches gifts — we have successfully matched with Microsoft, the Gates Foundation    Note:  We can register with your workplace matching program if you let us know


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, Director, at npf2@comcast.net (for volume orders)

THANK YOU so much for your support!