Washington College and Career Compass

New: Campus Participation Opportunity 

WSAC invites our postsecondary partners to become a Participating Campus in the College and Career Compass.

View the recorded presentation that includes background on the initiative, a description of the interactive tool, and steps to participate. All campuses participating in state financial aid may submit educational program information to be included in the Compass online tool. Fully participating campuses will complete the following four steps: 

1. Educational Program File: Complete and submit an Educational Programs file that WSAC sent to campus partners.  If you have questions about the status of your program file or would like a template, contact Rachelle Sharpe at rachelles@wsac.wa.gov.

2. Institutional Self-Assessment and Response Plan: Review the Self-Assessment worksheets and the Student Response Plan description with a cross-divisional campus team.  These documents will help you prepare your responses for online submission.  Submit your responses online here: Survey 1: Institutional Self-Assessment and Response plan. (Survey 1 Transcript

3. Campus Profile: Review the Campus Profile description and submit profile information online: Survey 2:  Campus Profile.

4. Memorandum of Agreement: WSAC has shared an MOU with campus partners outlining the roles of WSAC and participating campuses, including steps to complete and timelines. 

We request that campuses complete these four steps by February 21, 2020. Outreach to adult learners will begin in late February 2020. 

For questions about campus participation, look at our FAQs or contact Rachelle Sharpe at rachelles@wsac.wa.gov.  

The Need for Action

If Washington adults do not have accessible and affordable options for postsecondary education, they risk continued underemployment without the many benefits that come from earning a postsecondary credential.

Pathways for Returning Adults

Over 300,000 adults in Washington have one year of college but no degree.

The completion of a postsecondary credential is critical for participation and success in the 21st century economy. Empowering adults to return to the classroom, complete their credential, and advance in their careers can have profound benefits on Washington’s families, our communities, and state’s economic and civic health.

Components of College and Career Compass

The College and Career Compass will provide state-level coordination to reach adult learners and support colleges in meeting their needs. WSAC and partners are focused on key strategies in three areas:

  1. Communications: Identify former students, develop an online reengagement tool, and implement targeted outreach to connect returning adults to programs and supportive campuses.
  2. Cost: Address affordability issues including access to financial aid, and pilot a MicroGrant to address small-dollar barriers prior to course registration.
  3. Completion: Support the development of regional, career-focused, adult friendly pathways; address enrollment barriers; and expand campus supports to returning adult students.

Washington is Ready

Washington has a strong foundation of work and commitment to an inclusive and responsive higher education system, and is well-positioned to develop a framework to reengage adult learners. Washington is:

  • Nationally recognized for its commitment to financial aid for low-income students..
  • Serves nearly 70,000 students (over 42 percent aged 24 or older) through the Washington College Grant.
  • Provides strong pathways for transfer students and returning students, including policies to support students in receiving credit for prior learning.

Poised for Success

To meet this critical need for skilled employees, Washington adopted a goal of at least 70 percent of all adults (ages 25-44) completing a postsecondary certificate or degree. Establishing the College and Career Compass initiative is an essential step to reaching the educational attainment goal. Success will hinge on continued partnerships with key stakeholders from higher education, businesses and employers, targeted regions of the state, state agencies, and policy makers, who together will strengthen and define our shared commitment to serving adult students.


Advisory Teams


February 26, 2018

July 31, 2018

April 20, 2018

December 11, 2017

October 6, 2017

July 31, 2017

August 1, 2017

  • Washington Student Achievement Council, Olympia
  • Agenda  I  Presentation  I  Meeting Notes

June 15, 2017

March 31, 2017

2018 Summit

Effective Practices Exchange

On November 28, 2018, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) convened over 200 leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities to increase educational attainment of adult learners in Washington State. Visit the event archive to learn more and access materials from the 2018 Adult Reengagement Summit.

Reports and Resources

Reports and Resources