Program Overview


We are the students in the 2016-17  Seattle World School Scholarship and Mentoring Program.  Thank you for your interest and your support!

Our program was established in 2007 to help Seattle refugees and immigrants continue their education after high school, so they may more fully join our community and help to support their families.  We offer financial scholarships for college or vocational education, and ongoing mentoring.  Any student who starts their education 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 provide ongoing funding throughout a student’s education.  Students can reapply each year.  Even if a student receives adequate financial aid or other scholarships so that they do not need additional funds, they may still participate in the mentoring program.

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 unmet needs for tuition, books, supplies, laptops, transportation, and other basics for community college, university, or vocational school.

We are a 501c3 non-profit and the Alliance for Education is our fiscal agent.  Since 2007, we’ve raised and distributed over $90,000 to over 100 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 2017-18 are now available. Click on the link “Apply for a Scholarship” above.  Applications are due May 17, 2017.

Who We Serve

We serve newcomers to Seattle from around the world who started their education at the Seattle World School (formerly the SBOC: Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center) because they spoke little or no English when they arrived in Seattle.  Our awardees are refugees and  immigrants, all very low income, and most with 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 their families.  This enables our mentors to maintain relationships with students on a face to face basis.  Most of our students begin at community colleges and many are able to transfer to University after two or three years.  A growing portion of our students are able to go directly to four year colleges from high school, and a few have chosen to go to schools outside of the Seattle area.

Student Quote

2016-17 Scholarship Winners and Program Highlights

This year thirty students were awarded scholarships and/or entry into our mentoring program.  Students came from the University of Washington (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses), Washington State University, Seattle Central, Bellevue College, and Seattle World School, Chief Sealth, Rainier Beach, Nathan Hale, Garfield, Franklin, and Ingraham High Schools. Their countries of origin are Mexico, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Cambodia, El Salvador, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Kenya, Somalia, and Georgia.

About half of the awards were to new recipients, and half were renewing students.  Students are now attending the University of Washington (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma), Washington State University, Seattle Central, South, North, and Bellevue Colleges, and Renton Technical College.

Awards ranged from $500 to $3500, depending on financial need after FAFSA and other scholarship awards were taken into account. This year’s careful interviewing and financial assessment process insured that funds went to the greatest needs.  This year we wanted to provide higher funding for several of our students who are now seniors at UW and face loans and big bills.  To this end, we made an extra fundraising effort and, thanks to very generous donors, met our goal of $30,000!  We helped students meet their unmet needs, avoid higher loans, and pay for books, supplies, laptops, transportation, and supplies.

All students were offered mentorship.  Starting at a new school is a challenge for any students, but for students whose English isn’t perfect and whose parents know little about the educational system in this country, it’s even harder.  We helped our new students make sure they understood their financial aid and how to access their 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 had outings to Seattle Art Museum, and dance concerts.

Seattle World School Alumni Scholarship recipients have come a long way – from wars and religious persecution, political turmoil, interrupted education, and economic hardships – to a new country where they had to learn a new language and culture.    Our students have overcome the odds to graduate from high school and begin their college education or vocational training.   Our winners all 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.  We love contributions of any size!  You can support our students through direct donation (see below) or by purchasing student art cards, made from original artwork done by our students.  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 (all donations are matched by a percentage from the Foundation)

Or, purchase Student Art Cards at participating locations in Seattle and all proceeds will support the Alumni Scholarship program.  Individuals, organizations, or businesses can also order cards directly by contacting Nancy Peterfreund,

THANK YOU so much for your support!