Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University is launching an aggressive campaign to keep our homegrown talent at home. Two new initiatives offer more scholarship dollars to Shawnee County high school graduates who choose to further their education at either Washburn University or Washburn University Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech).

    “We are doubling down on our commitment to Shawnee County by investing in the young people of our community,” said Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek, president, Washburn University. “Washburn is proud to be a municipal university that is supported, in part, by the taxpayers of Topeka and Shawnee County. We plan to reinvest into local students and help them realize their educational dreams right here at home.”

    In Fall 2023, students who reside in Shawnee County and graduate from a Shawnee County high school, including private and home schools, are eligible for the Washburn Shawnee County Thrives Scholarship. The award, $1,000 per year for four years, applies to all first-time freshmen, students transferring to Washburn and current Washburn students pursuing full-time study. Shawnee County high school students and graduates enrolling at Washburn Tech will receive up to $750 for each year of their technical program.

    A second initiative aims to further remove the financial barriers to pursuing a college degree. The Washburn Shawnee County Promise Scholarship allows Shawnee County residents who graduate from Shawnee County high schools, including those from private and home schools, to attend Washburn University tuition-free if they are Pell Grant eligible or demonstrate an annual household income of less than $75,000 and have less than $75,000 in assets. It is a last-dollar award, meaning when other grants and scholarships do not fully cover tuition, the Promise Scholarship covers the remaining cost. Current Washburn students are also eligible for the program. Washburn Tech students currently have access to the Kansas Promise Scholarship through the state of Kansas.

    “We want Shawnee County students to be the lifeblood of Washburn University, and Washburn is mission critical to the future health of Shawnee County. Together, we are continuing to build a place where current and future generations will live, learn, prosper and belong,” said Mazachek. “These initiatives also have the potential to create population inflow, which will create opportunities to attract additional donor funding and even more educational opportunities for students.”

    Mazachek said these initiatives are a long-time dream of university leadership. She is excited for this chance to give back to the community by reinvesting taxpayer dollars into Shawnee County – benefitting our children, neighbors and local businesses. She hopes it serves as a catalyst to grow the workforce as well as the Shawnee County economy.

    “Washburn feels a great responsibility to help provide a highly qualified workforce in Shawnee County, from our law and bachelor’s degree students to our technical program students. Our county is home to many talented young people, and we don’t want to lose them. We want them at Washburn and to stay in our community,” Mazachek said.

    These initiatives are among several student debt reduction measures recently implemented by Washburn. Washburn enhanced both the freshman academic scholarship plan and the transfer student scholarship plan. In addition, Washburn unveiled a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) course marking program in which students in a ZTC course are not required to purchase primary materials such as textbooks.

    “More than ever, affordable access to a high-quality education is integral to equitable outcomes. Washburn’s history is one of ensuring both access and success for its students. These new scholarships will further our commitment to meeting these goals for our neighbors,” said Dr. Alan Bearman, vice president for strategic enrollment management and dean of student success and libraries at Washburn.

    U.S. News and World Report ranks Washburn lowest student debt among all public regional universities in the state as well as the top public regional university in Kansas (2022-2023).


For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Interim Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-1711
Cell: (785) 224-6212


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