Community college leader says state is not doing enough to help low-income students

We have to figure out how to address the other things that are going on in people’s lives that are barriers for them to go to college or cause them to defer,' she says.

For nearly all who enroll, college is a pit stop on the way to a career. For Jan Yoshiwara, who will soon retire as the executive director of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges — college was the career.

In the 1970s, Yoshiwara was officially enrolled as a premed student at the University of California, Davis. But as a student of the civil rights movement, she changed her mind about med school and instead left school with the goal of ensuring college was in reach for students on the margins. After more than four decades of working in higher education, most of them spent working in various roles at the college board, that calling hasn’t changed.

“Our state needs to do a better job of reaching out to low-income students to get them to college,” said Yoshiwara, who will leave her post at the end of July.

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