Microsoft, Boeing Donate $50M to Tuition Initiative

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is joining Seattle-based Boeing in pledging $50 million to help send Washington State students to a local college or university. The program, which was both authorized and partially funded by the state, will provide 10,000/$1,000 scholarships, starting this December.

The new initiative, which is being called Opportunity Scholarship, is a response to steadily rising tuition rates in the Pacific Northwest state. Not long ago the Washington State Legislature slashed $500 million of funding to various colleges and universities, cuts that have made their way down the chain to students.

Scholarships Aimed at Low-, Middle-Income Families

"When states hit hard economic times, the higher-education budget gets hit harder than anything else," noted Microsoft executive Brad Smith, who is a key part of Opportunity Scholarship.

"Creating a long-term sustainable foundation for higher education is something that is badly needed, and something no state in this country has done." (Source:

The scholarships will be targeted at low- and middle-income families where sending a teen to college may be quite difficult. Specifically, those targeted are families where total income is no higher than $97,500.

The scholarships are also aimed at students interested in specific fields, which include healthcare, engineering and science.

Seattle Tuition Fees Expected to Skyrocket 20%

The news couldn't have come at a more desperate time.

It's expected that the University of Washington will raise undergraduate tuition by approximately 20 percent next year, the second-largest increase in the school's history. The rate increase would have tuition fees climb from $8,700 to $10,574. (Source:

Microsoft and Boeing have each pledged $25 million to the fund, a total that will be donated over the course of the next five years. (Source:

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