By Matthew Taylor
In a variety of programs that have been in existence since Willamette University’s founding, University employees, their spouses and their children have been provided free or reduced tuition to attend classes and attain degrees both at Willamette and at institutions nationwide.
The little known programs provide a critical form of support to the men and women who dedicate their time to supporting the Willamette community. Employees can apply to these programs through Willamette University Human Resources, provided that they or their dependent has been accepted into the university.
If accepted by both the university and by human resources, the student can then begin taking classes just as any other student would, the only difference being in tuition.
In addition to the benefits available to employees here at Willamette, the university belongs to two exchange programs which allow the children of employees to attend other universities across the nation tuition-free.
The two programs, known as the National Tuition Exchange and the Great Lakes Tuition Remission Exchange, extend the same tuition benefits available to the children of university employees at Willamette to the “hundreds, if not thousands, of schools involved” in the exchanges, said Director of Financial Aid Patty Hoban.
Both programs work essentially by “trading students,” said Hoban. The National Tuition Exchange is the more selective of the two, as it requires that universities “stay in balance,” said Hogan, only accepting as many students as they send out.
This can be especially challenging for more popular schools, such as Willamette. In an average year, approximately 40 students from around the nation will apply to receive tuition benefits at Willamette University. Of these, the University will usually only be able to provide benefits to between 2-6.
This stands in stark contrast to the Great Lakes Tuition Remission Exchange. While this program is considerably smaller, consisting of a small number of primarily Midwestern liberal arts colleges and universities, it is significantly more accessible. Unlike the National Tuition Exchange, this program guarantees tuition benefits to whichever students are accepted into the schools.
Although these programs only directly impact a small number of students, 23 total between the CLA, the college of law and the MBA program, the service they provide is invaluable.