By Douglas Esser
As a high school student whose parents did not attend college, Yasmin Guzman, wasn’t planning for a four-year college after she graduated.
“I never really thought about it until my senior year,” said Guzman.
But counselors at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore encouraged everyone to apply. An English teacher made college applications an assignment. Guzman applied to four colleges. She was accepted by all four.
“It was in that moment, I thought, ‘This means something. I have the potential to go to university,’” she said.
Guzman chose the University of Washington Bothell for several reasons: because of financial support, which includes Husky Promise; because she wanted to stay close to home; and because “it’s a UW degree.”
When she learned that financial aid would cover tuition, “that was a big deal for me,” Guzman said. “That really played a big role in why I’m here, especially coming from a family of low income.”
Husky Promise is the guarantee that qualified students will not be denied a University of Washington bachelor’s degree because of the cost.
In the 10 years since the program began, about 39,000 students have had their tuition covered. In the 2016-17 school year, nearly 10,000 students attended the UW thanks to Husky Promise, about 1,600 at UW Bothell. This year there are 1,535 Husky Promise students at UW Bothell, according to the office of student financial aid.
Husky Promise covers the full tuition and standard fees for Washington state students who are admitted to the University and qualify. It may be part of a package of aid. In Guzman’s case, she also receives a federal Pell grant and a College Bound scholarship. College Bound is a state program that commits funding for students in the eighth grade if they graduate from high school with a 2.0 grade point average and have no felony convictions.
A health studies major on track to graduate in 2020, Guzman saves money by living at home. She also works 12 to 15 hours a week as a student ambassador in the UW Bothell Admissions Office, giving tours, scheduling events and talking to prospective students. This gives her an opportunity tell them about financial aid.
“I’m not the person that helps them, but I tell them, ‘Go to this person. Go here,’ so at least they know their options and they don’t feel doors are closing upon them.”
She can speak from experience about the sometimes difficult transition from high school to college.
“I know in high school it’s confusing and it’s hard, especially if you’re first-generation,” Guzman said. “Ask for help. If it doesn’t come to you, go for it, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to get through all of that.”
She can also speak from experience about entering UW Bothell.
“It’s competitive, and it’s growing. There are a lot of student voices here; it’s really student-oriented.
There’s lots of change happening all the time. I really like that,” Guzman said.
And, she can speak about a Husky Promise fulfilled.
“I feel really lucky and honored to be part of Husky Promise and to be a UW Bothell student.”