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Submission + - The Gate's Grant Exposed

JimboFBX writes: One of the things that constantly comes back to frustrate me is my girlfriend's experience with the Washington State Achiever's Scholership, also known as the "Gate's Grant" (as in Bill and Melinda Gates). You'll have to excuse any inaccuracies in my story as I am only going off of the (limited) information I have available to me.

The Gate's Grant is an all expenses paid full ride into a Washington (the state) university designed for poor high school students in select areas. The qualifications for the grant supposedly go to individuals whom have high academic performance. However, my girlfriend's school does not offer AP no honors classes and instead took college classes at the local university using Washington's Running Start program. It is ours and her high school counselor's belief that in pure ridiculousness this disqualified her for receiving the grant. Besides grades, the only other factor that grant officials use to choose applicants is an in-person group interview. Here is an e-mail I sent a while back to the organization, and never received a reply:

Hi, I have been dating someone who applied for the Gate's grant in 2004. She grew up in a small, poor, rural town. That individual at the time had a 3.8+ GPA and was attending Running Start. She was denied the Gate's grant. Her advisor, who was so certain she would get it, did not have her apply for any other scholarships (in order to give it to others), and by the time she found out that she was denied the grant, it was too late to get those others. This individual, on top of exceeding many of her classmates in school, also was in basketball. Her family contributed nothing to her education — her mother and stepfather (not married) were both in college, and their only income was student loans for themselves. Her Father was in nursing school, and was divorced. The individual was living with her mother. This year, this individual's sister received the Gate's grant, with a 3.2 GPA in the same high school. She participated in vollyball and softball. She was not in Running Start.

To put things in perspective, that same year, a friend of this individual who received the grant in the same class had barely above a 2.0. Another friend, an illegal immigrant, also received the Gate's grant, and had a 3.2 GPA. However, she can not use it due to her status. Another individual received it, and had a 2.8 GPA. Another individual also in Running Start did not receive the grant, and was one of the top students in the class. Another individual did not receive the grant, and had about ~3.5 GPA. That individual was also in several sports and extra-curricular activities. Because she did not get the Gate's grant, she could not attend upper education.

Many of the individuals who received the grant either failed out of college their first year or did not even try.

Since starting college, my girlfriend's family's contributions to her education has been in the negatives, since she has had to pay money to them. In her first year of college, she was unable to afford her living conditions and all of her books, and did not receive sufficient loan money at WSU because $1000 of it was a "Parent Plus" loan, which her parents could not qualify for because of their credit. Without her books, she had to share with others, and the financial stress ended up with her doing very poorly her first semester. On top of her financial issues, she was forced to live in dorms, although we were able to waive that for the second semester so that she could share an apartment with another and save money. Because of her poor grades the first semester, she was denied the only scholarship she received, $500. I finally stepped in and helped her financially and have since contributed thousands for basic things like food, school books, and living conditions.

Simply put, if it wasn't for me, she would not have been able to afford attending college. She currently has since done well in school and will be attending Nursing school in ######. She had also applied to others, but was denied on at least one occassion due to the barely passing grade she received in chemistry that first semester at WSU. If she did not make it this semester, those Running Start classes she took would expire as being "too old" in many schools, and she'd have to retake several of them. She still has to pay back her student loans, of course.

When her father died in late December, her brother and sister both qualified to receive $600/month. She didn't get anything.

The only reason we can find that my girlfriend was denied the scholarship was because she took Running Start. In my opinion, the method the foundation uses to distribute awards has been very poor.

I would like an explanation as to why she was denied. I find it very hard to believe she did so poor at the in-person "conference" that she deserved to be denied the grant.

At the end of the e-mail I give my name and my girlfriend's name.

To say we've lost sleep over this is just the tip of the iceberg. To elaborate since the letter, her father died December of a year ago, not last December. Only two people are in higher education on that list of unnamed award winners. The first is the illegal immigrant who has been paying for school out of her own pocket and would be a great individual in the professional field she wants to enter. It is a shame she has to fear being deported despite being in this country since age 6 and has attended school that entire time. The other is my girlfriend's sister, who as of recently wanted to go into the subject of "science" because "she's good at it" or maybe join the Piece Corps. She has no idea what she wants to be in other words.

To elaborate on my girlfriend's sister, she has received thousands of dollars in free money and lives with her mom. She has spent that money on a new computer, a 32 inch HD TV, and a lot of clothes. She also used it to help pay off an ~800 dollar cell phone bill she racked up via instant messaging when the plan didn't support it. When she took antibiotics recently, she didn't know that your supposed to take the whole bottle and not stop when you feel better. Apparently, the local high school never taught her that. She also has avoided getting a job like the plague.

Since leaving WSU and attending another university and now a community college, my girlfriend has fortunately received almost enough money to support herself through loans she will have to pay back. I say almost because it does not cover car repair that I've had to put thousands towards. Apparently, WSU likes to underpay people in financial aid. When my girlfriend said to the financial aid office at WSU, "this isn't enough to live on", their only response was "I'm sorry but I wish you the best of luck". She couldn't get a job. She applied at the limited positions available, she never got hired, and nobody was hiring for work study.

So now with the ask slashdot part.... HEEELP!! Seriously, this has to stop, if you're going to give out free money and extravagant scholarships at least give it to deserving individuals. What about our illegal immigrant friend? She has been in this country since age 6 and is 21. Isn't there anything for her? She's afraid that if she graduates she won't be able to get a job for fear of the repercussions if they do an extensive check on her SSID (which belongs to a dead individual). Is this all just a huge flaw in the system that someone important needs to be told about so it gets fixed? Who to tell?
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The Gate's Grant Exposed

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