Director of Financial Aid explains why Pacific puts financial aid above everything else

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Pacific University’s mission has always been to invest in people and in terms of financial aid, that is something that reigns true. With 98 percent of students this year receiving financial aid, the university takes pride in being able to offer the opportunity of a private education to students who might not be able to afford it otherwise.

Pacific student’s receive on average nearly $32,000 in grants, scholarships and loans this year, which is higher than most sister schools including George Fox University and Lewis and Clark College. According to Director of Financial Aid, Leslie Limper, Pacific has a large number of students who
receive Pell Grants.

“Pell Grants are a federally based program, and you have to be a low income student to get a Pell Grant,” Limper said. “This tells us that we have a high percentage of low-income families at Pacific. Because of this we feel like we do a good job helping fund first generation students and other students who couldn’t afford a private education.”

Although Pacific’s financial aid gives many students the chance to attend a university at a reasonable price, Limper explains that there is also a downside to the discounted tuition.

“The disadvantages, of course, are that it costs money,” Limper said. “You have competing factions,
we have really good faculty that we would love to give raises every year and we want to keep the buildings nice so students will want to go here, but all of that costs money and financial aid has to compete with that just like everything else.”

Limper explains that Pacific always wants to put financial aid first in terms of giving students
opportunities and access to education. At the beginning of each year the university goes through a four-month process of deciding how to balance the budget between financial aid and those other factions needed on campus.

“Sometimes there is a tension there, because if we gave less financial aid then maybe we could do something like build another building,” Limper said. “However, we’ve never really wanted to do that
because we want to support students.”

When deciding where the money will go each year, the faculty in various departments on campus figures out what they might want money for. Then, President Hallick and her cabinet evaluate all the proposals and decide what is realistic and what is not, in terms of the budget.

“We look very carefully at all in initiatives because like in all universities, money is really tight
right now,” Limper said.

Limper and the financial aid department always hope they will be able to accommodate students and give them the chance to receive a unique private education. With Pacific’s Lead On fundraising initiative, which will hopefully provide more scholarships in the coming years, they are hoping to continue giving students that opportunity in the future.

“I always hope financial aid rises,” Limper said. “I’m hoping that we can really communicate
with donors and people who have the money to communicate Pacific’s story and how much we change lives, so that we can increase the amount of scholarships that are available to students.”


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