Yakima seniors guaranteed college admissions with minimum GPA requirement

Colleges to send letters to eligible students asking them to apply

YAKIMA, Wash. — A new pilot program will provide graduating seniors in the Yakima School District who meet minimum GPA requirements with guaranteed admission to at least one of six participating colleges.

The pilot is the result of a push by the Washington Student Achievement Council for public universities across the state to make applying for college easier and more accessible.

YSD Executive Director of Career and College Readiness Byron Gerard said the program will benefit first-generation college students whose families may not be able to help them through the complicated admissions process or for students who would normally avoid applying for college because they don’t think they will be accepted.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for all families, but it’s probably most beneficial for families that have never navigated the college admissions process,” Gerard said.

This winter, the school district will send each participating college a list of students who meet their minimum GPA requirements, along with their contact information. From there, colleges will send out letters to each of those students inviting them to apply for guaranteed admission.

Institutions participating in the 2021-2022 Guaranteed Admissions Pilot program with the Yakima School District include:

  • Washington State University — 3.6 minimum GPA required
  • Pacific Lutheran University — 3.3 minimum GPA required
  • Western Washington University — 3.0 minimum GPA required
  • Eastern Washington University — 3.0 minimum GPA required
  • Central Washington University — 3.0 minimum GPA required
  • Evergreen State College — 2.5 minimum GPA required

Students must complete the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs) but Gerard said YSD students are already taking those classes as part of their high school graduation requirements.

Once students receive their letter, all they have to do to get an admissions letter is to fill out the application and their FAFSA. Gerard said colleges have also streamlined their application process as a part of the program.

“They’re setting aside things like the essay or, you know, having to perform at a certain level on the ACT or SAT exam,” Gerard said.

Evergreen State College previously created its own version of the guaranteed admissions program last fall and had a successful turnout from the few local school districts they invited to participate.

“There were a handful of students who didn’t think college was possible,” said Wade Arave, Director of admissions at Evergreen State College.

Arave said some of the students never thought they would qualify for college or they didn’t know where to start with the application process. He said their program opened students’ minds about what their future could look like.

“It’s not as scary and it’s not as big of a myth as people have made it out to be,” Arave said. “Really receiving and getting a college education is open and accessible to everyone.”

For more information about the program and each institution’s admissions process, contact:

  • Central Washington University — Contact Josh Hibbard at josh.hibbard@cwu.edu or 509-963-3087.
  • Eastern Washington University — Contact Jens Larson at jlarson10@ewu.edu or 509-359-6584.
  • The Evergreen State College — Contact Wade Arave at aravew@evergreen.edu or 360-867-6176. The college is also hosting a preview day in-person starting at 10 a.m. on Nov. 13. More information here
  • Washington State University — Contact Saichi Oba at saichi.oba@wsu.edu or 509-335-9640.
  • Western Washington University — Contact Cezar Mesquita at cezar.mesquita@wwu.edu or 360-650-4350.