Wildcat Promise Seeks to Bridge Funding Gap for Student Borrowers

Central Washington University prides ourself on providing higher education access to a wide range of students.

But, for that education to be accessible to all, people must have access to enough funding to cover the cost of attendance.

Students are often faced with a gap in funding between the amount of aid they are offered and the amount they need to attend college, forcing many to drop out or decline to enroll altogether.

CWU has recognized this barrier, and as part of a broader effort to increase student retention rates and ensure that our students graduate in a timely fashion, we have developed a new effort focused on Washington resident students who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants. After the university developed an initial pilot program that produced some promising results, Central is now planning to expand those efforts with support from our donors on a new program called The Wildcat Promise.

Vision Mission 1

The program is designed to close the gap between aid students receive and the total cost of attendance, while creating opportunities for more students to build their future at Central. The Wildcat Promise provides guaranteed funding for students to supplement their existing federal, state, and other financial aid support for four years if they remain in good academic standing.

“Central Washington University is making this commitment as an investment in our students because we believe finances should never prevent them from obtaining their degree,” said Paul Elstone, vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the CWU Foundation. “The funding provided through The Wildcat Promise will remove the financial barrier students face as they seek to accomplish their educational goals.”

The goal of The Wildcat Promise is to eventually support a large cohort of students each year by providing them with funding that closes the gap between what it costs to attend CWU and the financial aid packages they qualify for. This comes out to about $5,000 per student.

“We are just getting started with this program,” Elstone said. “I want to thank Kelly and Kevin Bengston for their early and ongoing support of Wildcat Promise. As we continue to build the program, we have a lot of opportunity for people to become involved and help students earn their degrees.”

To learn more about the Wildcat Promise, email Kenneth Shook at kenneth.shook@cwu.edu.

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