Rainier Scholars – Tacoma

In partnership with Tacoma Public Schools (TPS), Rainier Scholars – Tacoma will helpincrease college access for underrepresented students and build on a commitment to serve more African American students in the region.

Our Mission

Rainier Scholars cultivates the academic and leadership potential of underrepresented students of color through rigorous, transformative opportunities that increase college graduation rates and empower new generations of leaders.

We envision a more just and inclusive society with equitable representation of people of color at all levels of leadership and influence.

History & Philosophy

What we do

Rainier Scholars is a long-term college readiness program for underrepresented students of color in the Tacoma community. We recruit in 4th grade, start working with students and families the summer before 5th grade, and walk alongside them through college completion with the goal of graduating with minimal debt. 

Our scholars engage in a proven 12-year model that focuses on academics, leadership, career, and identity, and accelerates students’ learning by at least one grade level prior to high school. We also support parents/guardians in building their skills to be strong educational advocates for their children. 

What makes us different than other college access programs?

Early start

Rainier Scholars starts the summer before 5th grade and continues through college graduation. This early start allows us to set a strong academic foundation for students so that they enter college prep pathways with the confidence and skills to be successful.

Academic preparation

In addition to providing families with information about what it takes to be college ready, we also provide the academic coursework necessary to get students ahead. Students will complete about 1,000 hours of additional course work outside of their school year before 9th grade.

Comprehensive approach

We know that being a college student is about more than academic performance and thus, our program model reflects a  holistic, wellness-driven approach. Our programs and services include mental health and social work support, curriculum that integrates cultural identity and resiliency for high achieving students of color, and parent/guardian empowerment workshops.

African American focus

Rainier Scholars – Tacoma is committed to centering Multi-Generational African American (MGAA) students and families in our program design. Click here to learn more about why.

A history of student success

We have seen over 950 lives transformed to date, with approximately 100 new scholars added to our program each year (includes Seattle and Tacoma program sites).

Our average key performance indicators demonstrate our impact.

Scholars who are on college prep pathways

Includes independent, parochial and boarding schools, as well as public school highly capable/advanced learning opportunities

High School seniors who have been accepted to 4-year colleges and universities

Compared to the national four-year college acceptance rate of 67%

Note: This reflects the average school selectivity rate. Source: 2019 State of College Admissions, National Association for College Admissions Counseling

Eligible scholars who have graduated or are on track to graduate from 4-year colleges or universities

Compared to the national graduation rate of 65%.

Source: 2020 National Center for Education Statistics

Interested in learning more about Rainier – Scholars Tacoma? Fill out an interest form and we will follow up with you!