Gov. Gregoire names Opportunity Scholarships board members

Yesterday, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the seven-person board of directors for the new college scholarship program, which is the state’s first scholarship program for the middle class. The bill creating the program passed the state Legislature earlier this year, with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is funded through a public-private partnership, creating thousands of scholarships for students studying for bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields. The scholarships address the fact that tuition increases are making college harder to afford for middle-income families. Students from families with earnings up to 125% of the state’s average income can apply. For a family of four, that figure is roughly $98,000 a year. The scholarships will be financed by contributions from the state and private industry. The state allocated $5 million in seed money for the program and Boeing and Microsoft have together committed $50 million. The amount per scholarship will be decided by the board.