Making Private School Accessible

Officials at PLU urge local students to apply

When you grow up around private colleges with high price tags in the Tacoma area like Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound, some dismiss these schools as “out of reach.” Cost of attendance at PLU per year easily can average $50,000 (tuition and fees alone are about $38,000 according to

PLU is trying to spread the word that it is accessible and there are programs to help ease the cost of tuition. To get attention on the topic PLU announced the 253 PLU Bound Scholarship this week. The four-year scholarship will be awarded to a high-achieving local high school graduate.

“PLU has awarded these sorts of scholarship funds to local students for decades, but we’ve also found that many prospective students who grew up nearby don’t consider PLU because of the private school price tag,” director of admission Melody Ferguson said.

“We’re working to dispel that myth, both by continuing to make sure that PLU is allocating ample funding for scholarship dollars and getting out into the community to share with students how they can take advantage of these funds as well as other scholarship and grant opportunities.”

First-year students beginning at PLU in fall 2016 will be the first eligible to receive the scholarship. The 253 PLU Bound Scholarship will be awarded to College Bound Scholarship eligible students who attend a high school within the 253 area code, have a 3.70 or better cumulative high school GPA, and will be entering PLU as first-year students.

PLU has a long history of awarding full tuition scholarships to local students and students from all over the state who are college bound eligible. The Washington State Legislature enacted the College Bound Scholarship ( to provide college financial assistance to seventh- and eighth-grade students who meet eligibility requirements.

PLU administrators say that a big part of launching and engaging in local outreach about the 253 PLU Bound Scholarship is to make it clear to local low-income high school students and their families that PLU is accessible to them.

Currently there are 700 students enrolled at PLU from the 253 area code high schools who receive $13.2 million in annual gift aid from PLU ($18,905.33 average). And 118 of the 700 are College Bound students. The annual total gift aid those College Bound students receive from PLU is more than $1.9 million ($16,847.66 average).

For more information about the 253 PLU Bound Scholarship please visit or contact PLU Director of Admission Melody Ferguson at or 253-535-7707.

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