Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower students from historically underrepresented communities who have the desire to advance to and achieve higher education.
Willamette Academy was founded in 2001 by members of the Willamette University and Salem communities to address gaps in educational achievement among the district’s historically underserved student populations. Since then, it has served over 600 Salem-Keizer School District students on their path to high school graduation and college admission.
Through education and support, Willamette Academy helps such students defy the odds and achieve a college degree — to transform the future for themselves and their families.
Since the first graduating class in 2007, 89% of Academy graduates have gone on to college and 68% of Academy graduates have graduated from or are currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college. Of the students who attended Willamette University, 77 percent earned an undergraduate degree.
Embracing values of equity and social justice, the academy’s work helps our community make the most of all students’ potential talent.
Who We Serve
Each year, Willamette Academy serves approximately 150 8th-12th grade students in the Salem-Keizer School District from underrepresented communities in higher education including first-gen (parents/guardians did not finish college), students of color, students from low-income families, and/or recent immigrants.
Our 5-year cohort model allows for one entry point in the 7th grade. During our annual application cycle teachers and school counselors at each middle school recommend 7th grade students to apply to Willamette Academy and the 30-32 spots that are available.
College Achievement Plan
Willamette Academy students are eligible for the College Achievement Plan (CAP). Those students who meet the specific requirements of the CAP will be assured of admission to Willamette University and a comprehensive financial aid package that meets 100 percent of the student’s demonstrated federally calculated financial need.
Willamette Academy is dedicated to supporting all of our students in identifying the school that is their best fit. However, this unique opportunity that is reserved only for academy students helps to eliminate the financial barriers that so many of our students face.