In the spirit of Washington State University’s land-grant focus to provide access to higher education for all of our state’s students, WSU’s Office for Access, Equity & Achievement proudly hosts several outreach and comprehensive support services programs to assist first-generation, low-income, or otherwise underrepresented students in higher education, including students with disabilities, undocumented and foster youth.

Overview of Our Services 

The decision to attend college is influenced by many factors—the cost of attendance, career interest, the impact on the family, and the fear of transitioning to a new environment alone. For first-generation, college-bound students wanting to become the next generation of WSU Cougars, going to college represents a disjunction and breaking away from family and familiar surroundings.  Although students from underrepresented backgrounds have high potential, they often lack understanding of how to navigate the academic culture, may feel ill-prepared, and may lack the social networks to help them succeed.  As students steer their own journey, they can highly benefit from the experience of individuals who have traveled the road before that is both personal and encouraging.

Staff in the Office for Access, Equity, & Achievement are here to help improve the transition, persistence, and graduation outcomes in a dynamic environment for a diverse student population by providing academic support and creating a caring and engaged community.  When students sign up to participate in a program such as TRiO Student Support Services, the SMART START program, First Scholars®, College Assistance Migrant Program, Multicultural Student Services, TRIO Upward Bound, or the High School Equivalency Program, our goal is to help students successfully navigate the complexities of the University and achieve academic success.  Largely due to a dedicated staff and strong campus community support, these programs have seen tremendous growth and participating students have earned many high accomplishments.  Programs in the Office for Access, Equity & Achievement represent a coordinated, diversified and comprehensive set of student services including peer and faculty mentoring, free tutoring, career and financial aid guidance, and evidence-based, culturally-sensitive best practices that can both assist and inspire capable students, no matter what their background.  In addition to these comprehensive support services, recently Washington State University has teamed up with SALT™, a new financial literacy membership program, to help our students manage their money and student loans.

What is SALT? 

SALT was created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Washington State University students become more financially savvy. The cost of higher education today overwhelms many families and students. One tool we offer free to all students to help overcome financial obstacles and become more financially shrewd is an on-line program free of charge called SALT. Features include an online training resource that teaches students practical money management strategies for budgeting, credit management and loan advice from expert loan counselors. To find out more information about this valuable resource and how students can activate their SALT membership, visit here, or contact Michell Jaworski at the Dean of Students Office at 509.335.9120.

Fostering Cougar Champions

Individuals eager to attend college represent the dreams and aspirations of individuals seeking to build a better life through higher education. This includes students from foster youth backgrounds. Fostering Cougar Champions (FCC) is a comprehensive program of support for former foster youth enrolled at Washington State University. Students are assigned a dedicated advisor who is able to provide personalized guidance and support during their college career. Students have access to workshops on academic, social, career and financial literacy skills. FCC also provides access to community resources for health and wellness and other personal needs. For more information visit the Academic Success & Career Center or TRiO’s Student Support Services offices. For more information contact Sharon Erickson at 509.335.6000 or Angie Klimko at 509.335.7324.

Crimson Achievement Pathways Team (CAPT)

Crimson Achievement Pathways Team (CAPT) is an initiative of Community Relations & Outreach at the Office of Multicultural Student Services to help outreach, retain, and graduate undocumented students collaborating with other departments across campus. CAPT works towards campus climate and sustainability, training and development, and includes a support system through the Crimson Group, which is an activist, support, and community outreach group. For more information, please contact Marcela Pattinson at 509.335.5965.

Smart Start Program

THE SMART START PROGRAM (SSP) is a retention initiative under the guidance and support of the Office of Multicultural Student Services. We work to facilitate the successful transition and retention of students whom are first in their family to attend and graduate from a four-year university, during their first year on campus. Students who actively participate in this program will strengthen self-efficacy, broaden their perspective of campus wide resources, and enrich their ability to learn and succeed at the post-secondary level. For more information please contact Stephen Bischoff at 509.335.7704.

Staff in the Office for Access, Equity & Achievement serve as ambassadors to underrepresented students and as liaisons to the academic community, are visible and accessible, foster personal communication and interaction with students, advocate for student needs and rights, and demonstrate a commitment to diversity.  For more information on how students can utilize these services feel free to contact any of these programs listed above or contact the Office for Access, Equity, & Achievement at (509) 335-1280.