UW Tacoma scholarship drive raises $525K

Around 130 supporters of the University of Washington Tacoma attended a fundraising breakfast this morning on the university campus to help students meet the gap between what they can pay and what it costs to attend the university this year.

Friends of the University of Washington Tacoma, including community members, staff, faculty, retirees and alumni, have raised $350,159 so far for a new fund drive called Step Up Scholarships. UW Tacoma is matching contributions to the Step Up Scholarships at 50 cents on the dollar, bringing the total thus far to more than $525,000. The goal is to raise $1 million all together by April 13, when tuition is due for spring quarter.

“Students are being asked to shoulder more of the cost of attending the university, and we want to help them as much as we can,” said UW Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman. “We have made remarkable progress in a short time, but we still have a ways to go. We need to raise another $316,000 from the community in two and a half months.”

At the breakfast, scholarship donors met and talked with some of the 489 undergraduate and 58 graduate students who have thus far received Step Up Scholarships since fall quarter.

The fundraising initiative was launched last June by Chancellor Friedman, shortly after the UW Board of Regents was forced to raise tuition by 20 percent due to cutbacks in state funding. With such short notice, many students had difficulty raising the additional funds to pay their tuition. The university determined nearly $2 million was needed to help students pay tuition at UW Tacoma for three quarters. The Step Up Scholarships are intended to alleviate that gap.

“This sort of collective philanthropy in support of Tacoma’s public university is not new to our history,” Friedman said. She noted that when UW Tacoma moved to its permanent campus in 1997, community donors put up $1 million for the Next Step Scholarships for students transferring from nearby community colleges. And in 2006, when the university opened its doors to freshman for the first time, an anonymous donor gave a million dollars to create the First Step scholarship endowment for freshmen. “In our tradition of coming forward to help our students financially when times are tough, we hope the Step Up Scholarships will be a matter of pride to everyone in our community,” Friedman said.

For information about the Step Up Scholarships, contact Tom Keehn, director of development, at (253) 692-4404.