WSU Changes Scholarship Award Process in Response to I-200

PULLMAN, Wash. — A new policy for awarding scholarships, established in response to
the passage of Initiative 200, will enable Washington State University to continue to support a
diverse campus community while meeting the parameters of the legislation, WSU Provost
Gretchen Bataille announced this week.
The policy, which incorporates a “student-to-fund matching” criteria into the scholarship
selection process, was recommended to the provost by a committee that examined policies within
the University of California system and those of universities impacted by similar legislation in
other states.
Initiative 200, which was passed last November by voters, requires that the state, including
the university, shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual on
the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment,
public education or public contracting.
The committee recommended a two-part process for awarding scholarships that excludes
preference as part of qualifying for scholarships and broadens applicant pools. Students seeking
aid will qualify first and then be placed in pool of eligible applicants. Qualified students will then
be matched to donated funds based on the criteria established by the donors, including race,
gender or national origin if the donors have included these factors.
“When developing this policy, the committee worked to place the most aid possible into the
hands of our students, to faithfully honor our commitments to donors, and to stay within the
parameters of Initiative 200 and federal law,” said Bataille in a memo to the University’s academic
The policy also clarifies two exceptions to the I-200 initiative. Gender-based scholarships
may continue to be awarded to athletes in intercollegiate athletics, as permitted by Title IX of the
Education Amendments of 1972 and Initiative 200. Native American students may also qualify for
certain scholarships outside of the “student-to-fund matching” criteria if the funds’ criteria and
distribution are based on a tribe’s federally recognized political affiliation. The University will
develop specific standards for this distinction in consultation with tribal officials.
“WSU continues to take great pride in our efforts to embrace and grow a diverse student
body,” said President Samuel Smith. “This policy ensures that our progress will continue and
reaffirms our commitment to fairness and equal opportunity for all members of our academic
community and society in general.”
Committee members were Wayne Sparks, director, Student Financial Aid; Sharon Morgan,
assistant director, special projects, WSU Foundation; Steve Nakata, director, Multicultural
Student Services; Carla Caballero-Jackson, interim assistant director, Scholarships Services, and
Toni Ursich, senior assistant attorney general.