Step Up Scholarship initiative raises just over $1 million
When Chancellor Debra Friedman joined UW Tacoma last July, one of her first priorities was raising scholarship funds that could be put to immediate use helping students. Just nine months later, the Step Up Scholarship initiative has raised $1,008,677 in gifts, pledges and matching dollars.
Those generous contributions have helped 653 students to stay the course toward graduation despite a steep and unexpected increase in tuition this year.
The Step Up initiative was created last summer with the goal of raising $1 million for current student scholarships. Students whose parents do not have college degrees represent 42 percent of UW Tacoma's student population and more than 60 percent of UW Tacoma students work while taking classes.
The rising cost of tuition has made it harder for some students to achieve a college education, especially students who are the first in their family to go to college.
For the 2011-12 academic year, the UW announced a 20 percent increase in tuition. That decision was made in June, and tuition bills are due in October — leaving little time for students to cover the difference.
Because of increasing costs and a significant reduction in state support, the annual cost of a UW education has risen from $4,636 ten years ago to $10,343 today. That represents a dramatic shift of the burden for college costs to students; ten years ago, 70 percent of the cost was funded by the state, today it is just 30 percent.
"What an amazing community this is," said Friedman. "Their generosity allows UW Tacoma to serve as an ongoing agent of change for our region's families by supporting our greatest treasure, our students."