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 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 Master's Degree programs," Cook told THE BEE.
It was established in 1937 as a religious school – Pacific Bible College, in Spokane, Washington – by the Church of God of Anderson, Indiana, a church founded in 1881 by Daniel Sidney Warner.
The school moved to Oregon, and to the southern slope of Mt Tabor, three years later – first occupying only a 40-room house at the top of the end of S.E. 68th Avenue, and thereafter expanding the campus gradually outward over the decades.
"The name change also clarifies the kind of institution we are. 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; whereas 'Universidad' clearly indicates an institution of higher learning," said Cook.
Although the name change was approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities a few months ago, the school has since been in the process of changing its name publicly.
While Warner Pacific does attract students from around the world, Cook observed that it's "a very local" college, fully 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," said Cook.
Specifically, it will take a few months to change the name on everything from brochures to letterheads – and on the handsome sign on the side of S.E. Division Street at the campus, which is a short distance east of Franklin High School. 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 ever 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."
Tuition fees cut
Tuition and fees for the 2017-18 academic year are $24,500. Beginning in the coming fall semester, tuition and fees will be cut to $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 removing 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 assured. "Warner Pacific welcomes students from wide variety of backgrounds and faith experiences; we only ask that our students be open, exploring, and understanding."
In addition to their many other programs, in 2018 Warner Pacific has 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 online – www.warnerpacific.edu
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