College scholarships saved Shayla’s education — Here’s how to maximize your financial aid
Her junior year, SPU women’s soccer defender Shayla Page ’18 found herself in the emergency room. She’d eventually need to undergo a nasal endoscopy — where a tiny tube is pushed through a nostril and into the nasal passages.
Then Shayla’s dad developed multiple blood clots in his lungs. Her mom was diagnosed with skin cancer. On top of the emotional stress of dealing with so many health struggles once, her family’s medical bills began to pile up.
“With all these medical issues, it was tough on my family,” Shayla said. Even before the slew of health issues and bills, she hadn’t been certain if she would be able to afford her college education.
When Shayla received her financial aid offer, the combination of both an academic and an athletic scholarship made coming to SPU a reality.
Explore all possible scholarships
“Many students say they can’t attend SPU well before they hear about scholarships or financial aid,” says Director of Undergraduate Admissions Ineliz Soto-Fuller. Her department works closely with SPU’s Student Financial Services, the office focused on financial aid: answering questions and helping students maximize their SPU scholarships and connect with outside scholarship opportunities.
At Seattle Pacific, Shayla has excelled in class and on the field. She’s regularly recognized at SPU for her high GPA and exemplary leadership skills. Shayla was also named the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) for the 2015–16 school year.
After graduation, the nursing major aims to work in an emergency room. She hopes to spend her career caring for families and being a source of hope during life’s most challenging times — just as nurses did for her and her family.
Seattle Pacific talks often about how students are “engaging the culture, changing the world” through careers that use their skills to make a difference. But while plenty of students love the idea of a small Christian school — with its tight-knit community, small classes, and professors who know you by name — how many families can actually afford that?
Estimate your costs
It’s common to experience “sticker shock” when researching the cost of college tuition. But with over 90 percent of Seattle Pacific students receiving financial aid this past year, the total cost of an SPU education can be much less than you might think. If you have time to sit down and do the math, our Net Price Calculator will estimate how much SPU financial aid you may receive.
Use loans responsibly
Financial aid offers often include loans, and while it’s unwise to rack up too much debt, SPU works hard to provide information that will help you understand your loans and keep the process manageable. Our students’ default rate (how many borrowers who fail to remain current on their loans) is only 2.3 percent — compared to 10.1 percent for Washington state and 11.8 percent for the U.S. as a whole.
To supplement their scholarships and loans, many students choose to get a part-time job on campus. Research shows that students who work 10–15 hours a week on campus actually do better in school than those who don’t work at all. Campus jobs don’t require a car (the commute time is virtually nonexistent), work hours are generally more flexible than other part-time jobs, and bonus: compensation recently went up to $15 an hour. (Welcome to Seattle!)
Soto-Fuller loves tackling all the misconceptions about paying for college with students, and seeing how excited families get when they see the scholarship numbers and have a manageable, realistic college plan in place. Her advice? Take the time to research and explore all of your opportunities.
“There isn’t a year that goes by where I [don’t] hear about a scholarship that could go to three to five students and only two students apply,” she says. “Apply for everything out there because you never know!”
Meet more of the 90 percent of SPU students who receive financial aid:
Falcon Bound Commitment
Belinda Garcia works part-time near campus. Because she registered for the Washington State College Bound program in middle school, she’s eligible for SPU’s Falcon Bound commitment, and her tuition is covered in full.
Ray Sugarman, Diana Cabrera, and Selamawit Bariamichael share how the Ames Scholarship has impacted their career journeys.