University of Washington Alumni Association
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Columns Votes - December 2006
Comments on Husky Promise
I wish I could have been one of the 5,000 students from the low-income families to receive free UW tuition. I believe I would have qualified. My financial aid was very good but students from low-income families can fall through the cracks when they first start college. Most have never owned personal computers or had Internet at home until they go to college.
I was fortunate enough to have my parents pay my tuition expenses while I was at UW. As an adult I now appreciate the sacrifices they made to ensure I received a high-quality education. I see my peers struggling to pay off undergraduate student loans, and I have made the commitment to donate to the Husky Promise scholarship fund so that future Huskies can focus on their academics and not worry about where their tuition money will come from.
I was in a work-study program for part of it. This was significant in making my studies relevant and more important to me. The mutually supporting roles of academics and related work benefited me both at school as well as work.
A Husky Promise for a life of privilege without work would be an empty one. It would be best to get the recipients into meaningful work-study situations.
I’m thrilled the UW is starting the Husky Promise program. It makes me extremely proud that we are making this commitment to future students who might struggle like I did if not for this kind of substantial support.
The emphasis on student loan is an incredible burden for those who receive no family support. It is something I will have to live with for the next 30 years—whatever can be done to assist low-to-middle income students will help.
I think it’s really important to finance education for low-income students at both the undergraduate AND graduate level, especially for professional degrees.
In the 60s a student could get a summer job and earn enough money to cover expenses for the entire school year. Today it would be extremely rare to duplicate such a feat. I was able to concentrate on my studies and not have to worry about paying for the next quarter. This was not exceptional but the way circumstances were in that time frame.
Fifteen years ago, it was not a problem to make in-state tuition and room and board by working part-time during school and full time during the summer and breaks. It helped me take ownership of my education, and for that reason I question the value of giving out full rides based on family income. A few highly motivated students will take advantage of it, and many will squander the investment. I think this is what California discovered.
I worked evenings and weekends, paid cash for everything, graduated with a 3.46 GPA at UW, no debts and money in the bank. It was not easy, but the committed student can do it. I object to free tuition. If a person is qualified, and really wants to go, they can find a way, and low cost loans are a good option for part of their costs. Every student should work their way through college. I had an unbelievably great college experience!
I earned my school check by prepayment with relatively low military pay during the Vietnam War era with 6-yrs service, but had to work as well ~20 hrs/week + summers, as I was married. I managed an apartment building for rent credit, and summers I did various jobs or attended summer school (one summer). I also got about $400 in scholarships my senior year. As a senior I was a TA (maybe the only undergrad TA in UW history?) and in graduate school I had RAs, before taking a full time job while I finished my thesis. [I would note that I also worked a full time job while I did my Ph.D. at SIO] I am strongly against a free education - or a guarantee of its availability on other than academic grounds - and I tend to not support loans - and as such did not take one, as it loads the student too heavily towards the consumer economy of plastic we currently experience daily. We did get one basic grant (it was not much as I recall) when we went in to investigate loans and the student aid department found out how much (rather, how little) we were living on.
I think the new program to assist students with tuition is a great opportunity for lower income families, but the maximum income level in this program should be much lower in order to really serve those that need it most.
I entered through the EDS program and, with a family, was in no position to finance any way other than financial aid. I felt rushed to complete my undergraduate education. I also felt graduate school was completely beyond my financial scope. Kudos to the upcoming program!!
UW is still inexpensive enough that anybody who wants to go should be able to do it by working their way through with a modicum of help from their parents or partial scholarships. Anybody who can’t make it through under these circumstances doesn’t really want to go very bad. Students are the prime beneficiaries of their own education, and as such, should expect to pay for most of it.
I would rather see the money given to students whose parents are low income used, instead, to lower in-state tuition for all so paying one’s own way becomes a practical option again.