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Washington Award for Vocational Excellence

The Washington Award for Vocational Excellence (WAVE) program recognizes and rewards students who excel in career and technical education. The state Legislature created the award in 1984. Since then, more than 3,000 students have received assistance in paying their college tuition, boosting their ability to reach education and career goals. The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) administers the award each year. The Workforce Board also oversees the annual WAVE poster contest, giving student artists the chance to promote the award, and showcase their talents.

The Award
WAVE awards pay undergraduate educational tuition for two years (six quarters or four semesters) at an accredited public or private college or university, or licensed vocational school. Students are reimbursed up to the amount of the highest tuition charged by a public university in the state. If tuition is paid for through other means, the WAVE funds can be used to pay for other valid educational expenses, such as books, supplies, room, board, or transportation. The grant is based on undergraduate study only. The student must maintain a term grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to continue using the award. To get more details, view the

2009 WAVE application package.

Three WAVE recipients (two from high schools/skills centers and one from community/technical colleges) are chosen from each legislative district by a selection committee. Each high school and skills center may submit an application for at least one student and as many as four students, depending on the total number of graduating vocational program completers. The number of applicants submitted from community and technical colleges is determined by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

A student is eligible to apply for the WAVE award if currently a state resident enrolled in a Washington state high school, skills center, or public community or technical college, and by June 30, 2009, will:

  1. graduate from high school having completed a minimum of 360 hours in a single, approved vocational program; or
  2. be enrolled in a public community or technical college and complete at least one year (minimum of 360 hours) in an approved vocational program; and
  3. not have been a previous WAVE recipient.


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