Seattle Pacific University will begin offering students who receive a two-year degree through the Seattle Promise program with at least 50 percent off their tuition when they transfer to SPU starting in 2020.

The private Christian university in North Queen Anne announced its new Seattle Pacific Transfer Promise program earlier this month that will be open to Seattle Promise recipients.

Mayor Jenny Durkan entered a partnership agreement with Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Colleges last March to implement the Seattle Promise program, which offers all SPS high school students enrolled this fall with two years of free college, and is an expansion of the previous 13th Year program.

Voters approved the seven-year Families, Education, Preschool and Promise program levy by nearly 70 percent in November, which will fund Seattle Promise for high school graduates through the class of 2024.

Seattle Pacific values and desires transfer students, which account for around 220 annual enrollments each fall, said Jordan Grant, SPU associate vice president for enrollment operations and student financial services.

SPU assessed the attractiveness of the Seattle Promise program and looked at how to complement it.

“It seemed to dovetail really nicely with a lot of the endeavors we have on campus,” Grant said.

The Seattle Pacific Transfer Promise program will be available to Seattle Promise students who earned a two-year associate or associate of technical studies degree from a Seattle College, provided they maintain a 2.5 GPA and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) each year.

Students do not need to qualify for FAFSA or WASFA to be eligible for the Seattle Pacific Transfer Promise program, Grant said, but SPU does want to ensure students have access to as many financial aid resources as possible.

Under the program, SPU transfer students would receive at least 50 percent off tuition, but the percentage could be higher based on academic achievement and financial need.

“It depends on their academic preparedness and achievement before coming onto campus,” Grant said. “Students who have done really well in a Seattle College may get a higher scholarship.”

Tuition at SPU is $42,480 for a full year, and 50 percent off would amount to $21,240.

Grant said Promise students can cover a portion of the remaining cost with other financial aid, such as student loans, a Washington State Need grant and federal Pell grant. SPU’s Falcon Bound program will run parallel to the Promise program, Grant said. Falcon Bound covers full tuition for qualifying students who applied for Washington state’s College Bound Scholarship program in middle school.

About 95 percent of SPU students receive some form of financial aid, Grant said, and a third of undergraduates are eligible for a Pell grant. Forty percent qualify for the State Need program, but Grant said there is limited funding allocated to higher-education schools.

“We can’t serve all of those students,” he said, adding the hope is more funding is pending approval by the Legislature.

SPU plans to begin visiting local high schools and Seattle Colleges campuses soon to educate students about the Seattle Pacific Transfer Promise program. Not all Seattle high schools have yet been phased into the Seattle Promise program.

Find out more about the Seattle Pacific Transfer Promise program here.