Finances during a pandemic

In unprecedented times, SPU offers financial aid to students in need

Tori McArthur, Staff Reporter

a dorm building at night
Blake Dahlin
Tuition has not been reduced at SPU, but room and board costs have been lowered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to online learning.

Money, money, money: the one thing on a lot of people’s minds in the middle of a pandemic. According to CNN, 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance since Mid-March and others are awaiting the looming stimulus check from the government. Except for college students.

Under the stimulus qualifications, people who are claimed as dependents between 17-23 years of age will not qualify for the independent $1,200 check, nor will their parents/guardians qualify for the $500 dependent check.

The last couple months have brought drastic change for many college students, like sophomore Kayla Nasralla, who moved back home to Colorado with her family and is taking Seattle Pacific University courses online.

These changes have sparked objections from 1,189 students on May 4 who signed the petition to “lower tuition costs for spring quarter at Seattle Pacific University.” This petition details financial concerns addressed to SPU President Daniel Martin and was started by sophomores Kimberly Burmudez and Brynna Hansen.

“While we understand that negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the university and students were unavoidable, it does not stand to reason that the students of the university should bear the financial burden of the same tuition rate,” the petition on reads.

Many students have moved home to save money due to the fixed tuition costs, like freshman Ava Beranek who returned to Arizona.

“I think tuition should be lowered, it doesn’t make sense for us to be paying the same amount when we don’t get the resources of being at SPU in person,” Beranek said in an email.

While some students are hoping for a financial break amidst the pandemic, others think differently.

“I understand the frustration of the same tuition price for online classes, but at the same time I understand that SPU is trying to keep as many of their faculty and staff employed too and a tuition cost would probably change that,” sophomore Rachel LaBrie said in an email.

Although SPU is firm in not reducing tuition, there have been several other offers to help students in these times.

Throughout the last couple of months, students have received emails offering financial assistance for students in need.

a dorm building at night
Blake Dahlin
Housing costs for spring quarter decreased, as students who lived in the dorms were consolidated into Emerson and Arnett Halls.

Upon the move to online classes, on-campus residents will not be charged for spring quarter room or board if opting out of SPU housing. For students who stayed on campus, there is reduced pricing for meal plans where all students will have the 125 block plan with $100 in dining dollars.

In addition to the reduction in room and board, part-time and full-time students will not be charged for any student activity, technology and parking fees.

For students in need, Associate VP of Enrollment Operations and Student Financial Services Jordan Grant informed students of a federal emergency grant.

“These funds are intended to be distributed to students who have financial expenses resulting from COVID-19, and priority may be given to students who have the greatest financial need,” Grant wrote in the email received by students April 30.

In these unprecedented times, SPU is understanding of students in need and is extending support and financial assistance.

Aiding the new format of spring quarter, Cindy Price, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, wrote on the SPU spring quarter interim website, “Everyone is committed to making this quarter successful, so please don’t hesitate to ask for help.”