Campus Community / People of SU

Seattle U and Rainier Scholars Partner on New Scholarship Program

September 25, 2020

Rainier Scholars logo with graphic that reads 20 Years of Impact

Image credit: Rainier Scholars

University pledges full-need scholarships for underrepresented students of color.

Leadership representing Seattle University and Rainier Scholars signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) this week, ensuring Seattle U will meet the full demonstrated financial need for every Rainier Scholar newly admitted to the university.

Signed on Sept. 23, 2020, and effective fall 2021, the MoU has no end date and there are no limits to the total number of Rainier Scholars who are eligible. The scholarship will cover four years of tuition and fees, room, board and educational expenses—minus the student’s estimated family contribution as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“Rainier Scholars is recognized as a proven educational program of high quality in Seattle, closely mentoring and supporting deserving students over the course of their education. Seattle University is excited to partner with Rainier Scholars, helping these students succeed through their university experience,” says President Stephen Sundborg, S.J.

The mission of Rainier Scholars, now in its 20th year, is to cultivate the academic potential and leadership skills of hardworking, low-income students of color from fifth grade through college graduation. The organization partners with school districts in Highline, Renton and Seattle where scholars attend public, private and independent schools. 

“This increased financial commitment makes a crucial difference in the college access landscape for our scholars, who have the ability, but not always the financial means, to thrive in challenging higher education settings,” says Derek Rogers, Rainier Scholars director of college counseling.

Once a Rainier Scholar enrolls at Seattle U, the university is … “committed to establishing one point of contact within Student Financial Services for Rainier Scholars to access throughout their time at SU, along with onboarding and orienting students so they’re aware of the different student support services available to them,” says Melore Nielsen, interim vice president for Enrollment Management and dean of Admissions.

“I am enthusiastic about what knowledge and programmatic insights we will gain from working with the Rainier Scholars staff on how Seattle U can better address and meet the needs of the students and families they serve earlier in the college process,” says Nielsen.

Rainier Scholars will also continue to receive ongoing support from Rainier Scholars staff to ensure they remain connected and aware of available resources to enhance their success while pursuing their collegiate studies.

“This new partnership with Rainier Scholars reflects our renewed commitment to prioritizing the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students of color, as outlined in LIFT SU, our new Inclusive Excellence Action Plan for Racial Equity and Antiracism,” says Provost Shane P. Martin.

“We are grateful for this partnership and for Seattle U’s shared commitment to educational equity, which has the potential to benefit not only our scholars, but also our region,” says Monica R. Parker, Rainier Scholars acting executive director.