Big Changes for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

Published On: January 6th, 2020|Categories: News|
Big Changes for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

For the last four years, the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) and Apple STEM Network have championed an outreach and awareness campaign in North Central Washington for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS).

This effort has been tremendously rewarding as we have seen the number of scholarships awarded to North Central Washington students grow, and the number of awards to our region has more than doubled over time.


2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of WSOS Scholars 36 50 97 83
North Central Investment $       810,000 $   1,125,000 $   2,182,500 $   1,867,500


The NCESD has supported local school counselors, teachers, and administrators to work with students to submit applications. Community leaders, business and industry partners have even stepped up to help raise awareness about this opportunity.

About the WSOS Scholarship

The WSOS Baccalaureate scholarship offers up to $22,500 for scholars pursuing a four-year degree in a high-demand STEM or health care field. The WSOS investment was established by the Washington legislature in recognition of the need for a STEM credentialed workforce, and established in partnership with Washington-based STEM employers. The public investment has been matched 1:1 by private investment.

The WSOS funds are awarded to students from low-middle income families, who have maintained a 2.75 GPA, and have committed to a future career in a high-demand STEM field. The scholarship dollars are flexible and can be used to cover tuition, fees and other costs of attendance such as housing, transportation, food and more for students attending college in Washington State.

Two significant changes for the Baccalaureate Scholarship

This year, the scholarship application will open with two significant changes: first, the application window has been reduced. The scholarship application will open January 6, 2020 and closes just 4 weeks later, on February 6, 2020. Previously, students had until the end of February to apply.

Second, the number of scholarships offered has been reduced. In 2015, a generous donor enabled WSOS to increase the number of scholars selected to as many as 1,850 for four years. The last of these large cohorts was selected in 2019. This year, the WSOS cohort will return to a cohort of 750 scholars. The changes are likely to make the scholarship application much more competitive.

Career & Technical Scholarship

In 2018, WSOS added a Career and Technical scholarship to give students options to pursue high-demand STEM credentials, other than baccalaureate degrees. The WSOS Career and Technical Scholarship (CTS) offers $1,500 per quarter for scholars pursuing a certificate, apprenticeship or Associate degree in a STEM, health care, or high-demand field such as welding, manufacturing or information technology.

Which scholarship should someone apply to?

The applications for the Baccalaureate and CTS scholarships are simultaneously open this month. Anyone who plans on earning a Bachelor’s degree should apply for the Baccalaureate Scholarship, even if they plan to enroll at a community or technical college on their path to that degree. Anyone who plans to enter the workforce after earning an Associate degree, apprenticeship or certificate should apply to the Career and Technical Scholarship. CTS scholars will not be converted to Baccalaureate scholars.

Upcoming Application Deadlines

About Apple STEM Network

The Apple STEM Network is an alliance of K-12, Higher Ed, and community partners in North Central Washington. We represent a diverse region with tremendous potential for STEM industry in agriculture, energies and innovation. With our collective effort we intend to: provide a constructive support system for educators who aim to meet the rising challenge for all students to develop 21st century skills and STEM literacy, to integrate community mentorship and promote authentic project-based learning and field experiences for all levels of education, and engage students in exploring the world of opportunities on the horizon through STEM. For more information visit



Since 1999, GWATA (the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance) has served as the region’s tech alliance, championing growth and development in North Central Washington. As a 501(c)3, GWATA’s mission is to bring people and technology resources together while supporting entrepreneurs, STEM education, and technology. For more information visit


About the North Central Educational Service District

The North Central Educational Service District is a resource to the 29 districts within the four-county service area, providing professional and timely tools to meet the needs of individual schools and districts, and a reliable point of education-related information for the communities served. The NCESD is a respected resource to other ESDs throughout Washington State.


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