Amazon donates $3 million to Bellevue and Seattle Colleges for computer science degrees

Bellevue College will expand the computer science programs to serve 60% more students.

Amazon recently announced the donation of $3 million to Bellevue College and Seattle Colleges for the purpose of providing affordable access to computer science degrees for Puget Sound residents and expanding enrollment in the 4-year programs.

On October 13, Amazon also stated that they will contribute another $5 million to create a new engineering building at the University of Washington, which will provide support services for engineering students from historically underrepresented communities.

“Engineering and computer science are two of the most in-demand career fields in the U.S., and it is essential that there are enough skilled workers who represent our diverse communities to fill these roles,” said Victor Reinoso, global director of Amazon’s philanthropic education initiatives.

While each school will receive $1.5 million, Bellevue College will use the donation to expand the capacity of existing computer science programs to serve 60% more students. Bellevue College will also use the donation to support students with financial and technical assistance.

“Expanding our computer science program, including more financial support for enrollees and outreach to K-12 students, means great opportunities for even more students,” said Gary Locke, interim president of Bellevue College. “We’re so grateful to Amazon for making this substantial contribution to their success.”

Seattle Colleges plans to use their $1.5 million donation to assist with hiring faculty, doubling the program’s capacity to serve local students who are interested in computer science, and recruit local high school students. This donation, combined with Amazon’s $1 million donation in 2021, will help launch the bachelor’s degree program in computer science at North Seattle College, one of three of the Seattle Colleges campuses.

“Seattle has played an important role in training and developing our region’s workforce for decades. As an institution that serves this technology-driven community, we understand the value of computer science and STEM education,” said Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, interim chancellor of Seattle Colleges. “It’s only fitting that a leading technology company like Amazon would invest in its own backyard.”