Scholarship fund will benefit UWT freshmen

The University of Washington Tacoma has established a new freshman scholarship fund that will help make a UW education more affordable for South Sound students who want to enroll at UWT. The Freshman Scholarship Fund aims to improve access to students who want a high-quality education without leaving the South Sound region, according to university officials. UWT will enroll its first freshman class this autumn quarter of 2006.

Prospective freshmen who apply for admission to UW Tacoma by Jan. 15 will receive the earliest consideration for scholarships, although students can apply at any time and be considered as long as funds last. Freshman scholarship awards will be made based on information already included in the application for admission. No additional paperwork is required. The priority application date for admission to UWT remains March 1, although applications will be accepted until the freshman class is filled.

Scholarships will be based on a combination of merit and financial need.

“The early freshman scholarship consideration date helps us respond in a timely fashion to students who are getting multiple offers from colleges where they have applied,” says Wanda Curtis, director of Admissions for UWT. “Those who apply later will still be considered, but we need to be responsive to students who are already trying to decide between multiple offers at various schools.”

Since the Governor signed legislation in April establishing four-year baccalaureate options in Tacoma, Bothell and Vancouver, donations have been flowing into the newly established UWT freshmen scholarship fund.

“We’re seeing a lot of excitement from students and parents about UWT becoming the region’s new four-year public university. Community leaders know that high-quality, affordable education transforms lives one-by-one.

University programs keep talented people in our community, enhance cultural offerings and social services, and make the region more attractive to new and relocating businesses,” says Patricia Spakes, chancellor of UW Tacoma.

The new scholarship funds will enhance UWT’s ability to serve people in the South Sound region.

“For students who are deciding between moving to another city or staying close to home to save money, a scholarship can have a big influence. For students who can’t attend college without financial help, scholarships open up a world of opportunity,” says Spakes.

More than $150,000 will be available for scholarships for freshmen enrolling autumn 2006. UW Tacoma has also received more than $1.8 million toward a $3 million goal to establish as freshmen scholarship endowment that eventually will generate thousands of dollars in scholarship support each year in perpetuity.

UW Tacoma, along with UW Bothell and Washington State University-Vancouver, will all enroll freshmen and sophomores for the first time beginning autumn 2006. Previously, these campuses offered only junior- and senior-level coursework and served as a primary destination for transfer students from community colleges and adults returning to complete degrees.

These campuses will continue to serve as a primary destination for transfer students and returning adults while adding a four-year baccalaureate option to the regions they serve.

“Our commitment to transfer students has not changed as we have added the four-year option. We are working hard to improve the two-plus-two pathway (two years at a community college plus two years at UWT to earn a baccalaureate degree) for students at the same time we are developing the freshman and sophomore curriculum,” says Spakes. “In many ways, transfer students will find the transition into a four-year UWT smother than before, and overall student life will be more active and vibrant.”

The Freshman Scholarship Fund adds to an array of scholarships already available to transfer and graduate students at UW Tacoma.

“Community support is largely responsible for the tremendous success of UW Tacoma, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary,” says Carol Van Natta, assistant chancellor for advancement at UW Tacoma. “Community support and student interest have fueled our rapid enrollment growth, helped us gain state support for new classrooms and lab buildings and led to an impressive fundraising record.”

UW Tacoma has raised an average of $3.8 million a year the last few years, which ranks it fourth among public universities in the state for fundraising behind UW Seattle, Washington State University and Western Washington University.

“That is a phenomenal achievement for a campus so young,” says Van Natta. “But the key to all this is the gratitude of a student who is able to save money by staying home while earning a degree from a world-class university with scholarship support. Helping these people become the next generation of leaders is one of the most rewarding things about working in higher education.”

For more information about applying as a freshman to UW Tacoma, call (253) 692-4400, or visit