November 4, 2002
By Gary Locke,
Governor of the state of Washington
A college education is part of the American dream, and no academically successful high school student should lose a college opportunity because they cannot afford it. That's why we established the Promise Scholarships in 1999.
The Promise Scholarships emphasize academic merit as well as financial need. This program helps low- and middle-income students live the American dream. The Legislature has provided funding for the program in the state budget since 1999, and in 2002, passed a law to permanently adopt it.
The program makes a simple statement to Washington young people: if you achieve high standards and need help to go to college, we will help you.
We are committed to helping aspiring college students reach their goals.
Recently I visited four college campuses in our state, where we awarded Promise Scholarships to some of the nearly 7,000 students who will receive the scholarships this year
. I talked to students, parents and university faculty. The strength of the vital partnership between families, educational institutions, communities and government was both evident and inspiring. Higher education is critical to the future success of our economy. We have some of the most capable and talented workers in the country.
Our workforce of 2.9 million is experienced and well educated. Our universities produce top-notch graduates and enjoy international reputations for research in science, medicine, engineering, agriculture and biotechnology. An educated workforce is a key to our state's economic vitality in the 21st century, and it helps our state compete in the global economy. We must continue to work for the best schools possible.
We must continue to try to provide more stable funding for our colleges and universities. And we must continue to do all we can to make sure our best and brightest are able to realize their potential.
Programs like the Promise Scholarships reflect an important philosophy: hard work and strong achievement deserve to be rewarded with opportunities. This week I had a glimpse of what happens when talent and determination are matched with opportunity. It's clear we're on the right track.