A generation ago, the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma was the kind of liberal-arts college that attracted mostly local, home-grown students. But as it built a national reputation — and as the price of tuition rose — the school’s enrollment increasingly came from out of state. Today, 80 percent of UPS students come from outside Washington.
Now, UPS is looking to change that.
The university is making a new push into Tacoma public schools, whose students account for only about 2 percent of the university’s enrollment. UPS is promising that if they are admitted, the university will meet their financial need through a combination of scholarships, grants, loans and work study.
UPS President Ron Thomas said the community has the perception that the college is difficult to get into, and too expensive. He said UPS has always tried to meet the financial need of students who couldn’t afford full tuition, so the campaign is in part an effort to make people more aware of financial aid resources.
But there also will be more merit aid available to Tacoma students, which will come in part from a $125 million fundraising effort — including a $44 million endowment for financial aid.
“We want to make it clear that we are still very interested in our local students,” said Thomas, who noted that UPS reaches many Tacoma junior high and high school students every year with a summer outreach program to show them what college is like.
The initiative could also help diversify UPS, which is overwhelmingly white. Only about 2 percent of UPS students are black, while about 20 percent of students in Tacoma’s public schools are black.
“I think, in addition to being just good neighbors, we’re always happy when an initiative can diversify the campus,” said Thomas, who noted that the next generation of students is going to be more demographically diverse.
Here’s a look at how much low-income students pay at Washington’s private colleges and universities, and what percentage of enrollment is made up of students who are low-income, measured by the percent that receive federal Pell grants.
[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”//infogr.am/how-private-colleges-compare” width=”630″ height=”650″ scrolling=””/]