STARS - page top logo and photos

STARS Students

The STARS Program

Washington STate Academic RedShirt (STARS) program supports engineering and computer science students from low-income backgrounds and underserved high schools in navigating the transition to college-level engineering courses.

STARS is a two-year program with a specialized curriculum designed to build learning skills and strengthen academic preparation for core math and science prerequisites. STARS students who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher and fulfill first- and second-year program requirements are guaranteed admission to an engineering or computer science major. Though students are not guaranteed admission to their first-choice major, thus far, 98% of STARS students have been admitted to their first-choice major. STARS students can expect to complete their degrees in five years—only 1 to 2 quarters longer than average for an engineering or computer science degree at UW.

We are no longer accepting applications for 2018.

STARS program benefits

  • Specialized and individualized first- and second-year curricula
  • Comprehensive academic advising tailored to students’ individual needs
  • Mentoring and instructional support for math, chemistry, and physics prerequisites
  • Career counseling and resources to help students secure internships in industry
  • Mentoring and research opportunities with faculty
  • A supportive community of peers, faculty and staff
  • Scholarships

Program eligibility

To be eligible, a student:

  • Must be an incoming first-year student at the University of Washington, Seattle campus.
  • Must be a Washington state resident.
  • Must be eligible for financial aid (preference given to Husky Promise, Pell Grant, and/or Washington State Need Grant recipients).
  • Indicated an engineering or computer science major on the UW application.
  • Graduated from a high school in Washington state.

About the “redshirt” name

In NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics, focused and talented athletes occasionally use their first year—known as a “redshirt year”—to train to compete at the college level. Redshirt athletes practice with the team but do not set foot on the field. After completing a redshirt year, these athletes are eligible to compete for four years. The STARS program follows a similar model: the first year is devoted to strengthening academic preparation and building skills and support systems necessary for success in engineering and computer science.

Bowling with the STARS

The first cohort of STARS students at UW invited the second year cohort for some bowling. Watch these future engineers find the angles and adjust rotation speed!


STARS funders


Join us in appreciation for support and current or past funding from these organizations:

Microsoft logo
National Science Foundation logo
Washington State Opportunity Scholarship logo


To become a sponsor of the STARS Program, contact Sharon Dana, 206-543-6908.