UW Tacoma announces $1M scholarship program

University of Washington Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman today launched Step Up Scholarships, an initiative designed to help fill the gap between the costs of a UW Tacoma education and available financial aid.

“Many of our students are struggling,” said Friedman, speaking at a City Club of Tacoma luncheon at the Tacoma Art Museum today. “UW Tacoma is very proud of having the largest proportion of first-generation students of any UW campus, and the most diverse student body of any UW campus. But it also means that UW Tacoma students will have the greatest challenge in paying the new tuition bill.”

Last month the UW Board of Regents approved a 20 percent increase in tuition and fees, raising the cost for three academic quarters (September to June) to $10,343. The action followed a cut in state funding to the University of Washington by about half in the past three years. Although the actual cost of a student education has been fairly stable for the past two decades, the part of the higher education tab picked up by the state has shrunk considerably. The state formerly paid about two-thirds of the cost of higher education. Now it pays only one-third, leaving the bulk of the cost to students and their families. Federal Pell Grants, State Need Grants, family contributions and various scholarships, combined with additional tuition revenue set aside by the University of Washington, are not enough to meet the demand for financial aid, according to Friedman.

“Even with the extra financial aid, we still have students who don’t yet have enough to pay their tuition bill when autumn quarter begins September 28,” said Friedman. “We want to make sure that there are no financial barriers that stand in the way of student progress toward graduation.”

Friedman set the goal for Step Up Scholarships at $1 million, which includes a pool of UW Tacoma funds equal to one-third of the amount. That will be used to match donor contributions by 50 percent until April 13, the day that spring quarter tuition is due, or until the fund of $333,333 is exhausted.

“Our community supporters have always come through for us in time of need. We’re asking them to step up to the challenge once again, so that deserving students can be successful at UW Tacoma,” Friedman said.

For more information and to contribute to the Step Up Scholarship fund, go to http://www.Tacoma.uw.edu/stepup .