In the Loop

September 2020

Tuition Reimagined: In historic move to make college more accessible, Seattle Pacific lowers undergraduate tuition by 25 percent

Rising college costs are a consistent barrier to students accessing the colleges of their choice and pursuing their dreams. In response, Seattle Pacific University is taking a bold step into the future with Tuition Reimagined, a new initiative aiming to make the nationally ranked academics and transformative community of SPU more affordable and accessible.

First, SPU is lowering the undergraduate tuition rate by 25%, beginning in autumn 2021, and restructuring scholarship offerings. The University is also promising students and families that any future increases to their tuition costs will not exceed 4% annually (historically, this has been around 5%).

Under the new initiative, current students will see a $0 increase in overall tuition costs for the 2021–22 school year, after their financial aid is applied. This move will have compounding benefits to students as it significantly lowers the tuition of future years as well.

Finally, all students (returning and new) who are enrolled this fall and graduate from SPU can take an undergraduate or graduate course for free. This will allow students to take extra time to complete a required course, take a course they dreamed of but didn’t have time to fit in, or get a head start on graduate studies at SPU.

As the first private university in the Pacific Northwest region to make this kind of change, SPU aims to make the world-class faculty, deep faith community, and student support services that have become hallmarks of an SPU education more accessible to students. The tuition change will also make the financial aid and college payment process more transparent and easier for students and their families to predict and navigate.

Questions? Email

Learn more about Tuition Reimagined at our Town Hall for Parents of Current Students, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m. Register here.


Gretchen Stehr (right) and daughter, Faith.

You are invited to join Parents Prayer Network

Hello! My name is Gretchen Stehr. I am a 1993 SPU alumna and the new SPU Parent Prayer Network coordinator.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself, so you can begin to get to know me as I gather up ways that we can pray for SPU, its faculty and staff — and, of course, our students.

I am a Pacific Northwest gal, having lived in California, Washington, Idaho, and, now, Oregon for the last eight years. For the last year, my family has lived in Springfield, Oregon, where my husband is a pastor. I have been a teacher for the last 25 years both in public and private schools, teaching students in grades from preschool to 12th grade.

We have one son who is a junior in high school and a daughter who’s now a junior at SPU. Although she had returned home in mid-March at the beginning of the pandemic, she was more than ready to return to campus despite the many changes and unpredictable challenges in the school year ahead.

I look forward to connecting with you this year, whether your family is new to SPU, you are an alum like me, or you’re somewhere in between. Together, we can ask God to guide and protect our students, the SPU faculty, and the rest of the SPU community.

Please join me and other parents and family members in praying for the SPU community. Just sign up here to receive two emails a quarter, listing specific ways to pray during each week of the quarter.


A whale of a project

A group of SPU students recently assembled the skeleton of that whale — now hanging in Eaton Hall. Along the way, the students also engaged in interdisciplinary inquiry as a way of coming to know the unknown. Find out more, and watch the KIRO-TV news report on the project.


Videos for SPU Families

Check out the new Videos for SPU Families page, giving you a look at new videos about academics and student life at SPU. Watch President Martin’s Autumn Greeting; view the SPU Academic Forum led by Provost Laura Hartley, and don’t miss the highlights of Orientation 2020!


The Center for Learning offers support on campus and remotely

The Center for Learning is ready to provide in-person and remote support and resources to help your student succeed at SPU this year.

Is your student looking to improve time management or study skills? Does your student need guidance transitioning from high school to college-level academic expectations? Remind your student that he or she can go to the CFL website to schedule a Zoom appointment with professional staff or with a peer academic coach.

Students who’d like tutoring support for a specific class can check out the CFL’s free Zoom small group and drop-in tutoring. Tutors are available to support students in disciplines such as biology, chemistry, math, and sociology.

They also have 24/7 access to a host of study-skills information and academic resources about effective note taking, increasing reading comprehension, strategies for boosting memory, and much more.

Additionally, Disability Support Services is also part of the Center for Learning. If your student received accommodations in previous school settings, encourage your student to contact us to discuss possible accommodations at SPU by emailing

Encourage your student to discover all of the Center for Learning’s services at

Student Financial Services announces updated lobby hours

Even in this unprecedented year, Student Financial Services is ready to help you and your student navigate through Autumn Quarter and beyond. Please visit the SFS website to view information on adjusted lobby hours, visitor guidelines, service information, and ways to connect with SFS counselors.


2020 Virtual Days of Common Learning, featuring Andrew Yang

The Day of Common Learning (this year, known as the Days of Common Learning) is a campuswide event in which students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the outside community have the opportunity to engage in deep thought and conversation around a topic of focus, interest, and concern.

For this 19th annual event, the topic is “The Future of Work in the Age of a Pandemic, Sociopolitical Disruption, and Rapid Technological Change.” Monday through Thursday, we will have a thematic session each day led by a faculty member and an external conversational partner, who together will explore one of the themes of the day regarding the future of work. The week culminates on Friday with a 15-minute keynote address by Andrew Yang and a panel discussion by the four faculty who led the thematic sessions.

See the complete schedule, the daily themes, and find out how you can join the Zoom sessions.


Upcoming events

Note: All times are Pacific Daylight Savings time.

Tuition Reimagined: Town Hall for Parents of Current Students
Wednesday, Sept. 23
7 p.m.

Learn more about Tuition Reimagined at our Town Hall for Parents of Current Students. Register here.

Engagement Webinar Series
Thursday, Oct. 1; Tuesday, Oct. 13; Thursday, Oct. 29
6–7 p.m.

Join key University leaders, faculty members, and others in this live webinar series. Register, and submit a question. If you missed it, you can also watch Part I: “A Start Like No Other,” with Provost Laura Hartley, Chaplain Lisa Ishihara, and others.

The 2020 Virtual Days of Common Learning, featuring Andrew Yang
Monday–Friday, Oct. 5–9

This year’s topic is “The Future of Work in the Age of a Pandemic, Sociopolitical Disruption, and Rapid Technological Change.” Four sessions, including “Theology and the Future of Work” and “Jobs of Tomorrow,” will culminate on Friday with a keynote address by Andrew Yang. Visit the website for the complete schedule.

All Majors Virtual Mega Meet-up  
Wednesday, Oct. 7
12–4 p.m.

Students can present themselves professionally to a potential employer, while showcasing their communication skills. They will have the chance to interact with the employers on a 1:1 and group basis. Students can find registration information on Handshake and on the University calendar.

Joint Virtual Career Fair  
Wednesday, Oct. 14
12–4 p.m.

Students from Seattle Pacific University, Saint Martin's, and the University of Puget Sound are invited to this virtual career fair, where they can meet representatives from the U.S. State Department, Target Corp., the Peace Corps, and others. Students can find registration information on Handshake.

Veterans Day
Wednesday, Nov. 11

No classes; campus offices closed.

Academic calendars

SPU academic calendars, including important deadlines, final exam schedules, holidays, and academic highlights for 2020–21.