THE growing expense of college requires higher-education institutions to keep a strong commitment to student aid.

The three institutions that are the Seattle Community Colleges are making a strong investment with a laudable scholarship program.

Seattle Central Community College recently launched the Seattle Promise scholarship, guaranteeing tuition to all full-time students who have a 3.0 grade-point average and qualify for financial aid. Seattle Central Community tends to attract older students. Only about 6 percent of students come right out of high school.

The 13th Year Promise Scholarship at South Seattle Community College guarantees one year of tuition to all graduates of Cleveland High School and Chief Sealth International High School.

A high-school diploma and one year of college marks a “tipping point” that greatly improves one’s chances of getting a living-wage job or a college degree, according to the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

North Seattle Community College launched the Completion Scholarship to help students who are within one quarter, or 15 credits, of graduation and are without the means to pay for tuition or books. College officials tracked former students and found most dropped out because they ran out of money. Who better to help than the students so close to realizing their dream?

A second North Seattle scholarship pays for English-language classes, a creative response to 2010 U.S. census data showing Seattle’s largest immigrant population growth was north of the Ship Canal.

The noteworthy scholarship programs help students afford college by recognizing their hard work and their difficult circumstances.