College cuts tuition, becomes University

Discover how this outer East Portland school’s name change better reflects its mission, and why they announce “more transparent” tuition fees …

This southeast Portland school, Warner Pacific College, announces that it has been renamed a university, and cut tuition rates by about $6,000.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In late January, the school located on a lush, green campus at the south base of Mt. Tabor, Warner Pacific College, announced a name change – and lower tuition fees.

“Beginning last fall, we started the process of changing our name to ‘university’,” began President Dr. Andrea P. Cook PhD, who said she’s been with the school for 13 years.

“The name ‘Warner Pacific University’ better encompasses the scope of the programs we now offer, including Masters degree programs,” Cook told East Portland News at the school on January 25.

It was established in 1937 as Pacific Bible College in Spokane, Washington, by the Church of God of Anderson, Indiana, a holiness Christian Movement founded in 1881 by Daniel Sidney Warner.

The school moved Oregon, and to the southern slope of Mt Tabor, in 1940 – first occupying a 40-room house at the top of the end of SE 68th Avenue, and thereafter expanding the campus gradually over the decades.

Warner Pacific University President Dr. Andrea P. Cook, PhD, and VP for Enrollment and Marketing Dale Seipp Jr., proudly show off their institution’s new insignia.

“The name change also clarifies the kind of institution we are; and, with about 35% of our students being Latino, using the term ‘college’, or ‘Colegio’ in Spanish, indicates a school that offers secondary education like extended high school; where ‘Universidad’ clearly indicates an institution of higher learning,” Cook clarified.

Although the name change was approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities a few months ago, the school has been in the process of changing its name.

While Warner Pacific does attract students from around the world, Cook observed that it’s a “very local” college, with a full 75% of their students coming from the greater Portland area.

“Because of this local orientation, we’ve focused on preparing students for the jobs and for their futures in this location, right here in the Pacific Northwest.

“It takes a while to transition everything . . . We will continue to have the college name until we get everything transitioned over the next couple of months,” Cook  said.

Specifically, it will take a few months to change the name on everything from brochures to letterheads – and on the handsome way-marking sign on SE Division Street. Cooks says she “feels great” about the change.

“It’s also great from the standpoint of the work that we’re doing to serve diverse students in our community: 63% of our students are from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 57% of our students are the very first person in their family to go to college,” Cook said. “We’re providing an education for students that have often had no opportunity to attend college in the past and filling that need in some very significant ways.”

Soon, this street-side monument will read “Warner Pacific University”.

Tuition fees cut
Tuition and fees for the 2017-18 academic year have been $24,500. Beginning in the coming fall semester, tuition and fees will be $18,660 – making Warner Pacific the most affordable private college or university in Oregon, pointed out the school’s VP for Enrollment and Marketing Dale Seipp Jr.

“When considering how we could better serve the students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, we believed that remove some of the ‘sticker price barrier’ of attending college was very important,” Seipp remarked.

For students seeking financial aid, and applying for student loans, this reduction will help extend the value of their financial resources, he observed.

While most of the school’s revenue comes from students’ tuition and fees, Seipp pointed out that that their affiliated church does provide some financial support to the university’s operation.

“We do not require students to sign any testaments of faith here,” Seipp said. “Warner Pacific welcomes students from wide variety of backgrounds and faith experiences; we ask that our students be open, exploring, and understanding, and learn in the process of their education.”

In addition to their many other programs, in 2018, Warner Pacific introduced what they call “practical focus” liberal arts programs, including Medical Lab Science, Nursing, Digital Media and Communications, Criminal Justice, Sports Medicine, Population Health, and Gerontology.

Find out more about Warner Pacific University at their website: CLICK HERE to visit ot.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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