Scholarships & Financial Aid

Each year Pacific Lutheran University awards scholarships up to $5,000 to new applicants in the Rainier Writing Workshop. The number and amount of the scholarships vary depending on the qualifications of the candidates.

“I can’t say enough good about the program. It’s been a great light in my life.”

The Linda Bierds and Carol Houck Smith Graduate Scholarships

These awards are named for Linda Bierds, a distinguished poet residing in the Pacific Northwest who has taught for many years in the Rainier Writing Workshop, and in memory of Carol Houck Smith, a longtime friend of literature and senior editor at W.W. Norton.

Award amount: Up to $5,000

Deadline: February 15

Number of awards: Varies

Criteria: All incoming students to the MFA program can be considered for these scholarships. Interested students must complete a brief application.

Terms of the award: One-time award disbursed over the student’s two or three years in the program, contingent on satisfactory academic performance.

How to apply: Submit the scholarship application by the deadline. The application for the MFA program must also be complete by the scholarship deadline.

The Jack Cady Promise Scholarship

This award is named in honor of the award-winning writer and emeritus PLU Professor.

Award amount: Up to $1,500

Number of awards: One

Criteria: All eligible students are automatically considered – this award is designated for incoming students from working class background and with demonstrated financial need.

Terms of the award: This scholarship is awarded for one year only.

How to apply: No separate application is necessary to be considered for this award. Program applications and materials will be used to determine the recipient.

Graduate Fellowships

The graduate fellowship program offers MFA students an opportunity to participate in academic and administrative activities that will enhance their graduate education experience, as well as provide financial assistance.

Award amount: Up to $2,000

Number of awards: Varies

Criteria: Students with skills in editing and proofreading, publishing, and other administrative work will be considered for the fellowships.

Terms of the award: Students engage in off-campus work-study, helping the MFA program with various administrative tasks. Payment is via a monthly stipend. Fellowships may be renewed yearly.

How to apply: No separate application is necessary to be considered for a fellowship.  Program applications and materials will be used to determine the recipient.

The PLU Alumni Grant

The PLU Grant provides a 10% discount on tuition for PLU graduates who enroll in a PLU master’s level degree or approved master’s level certificate program.  Restrictions apply to those students who are also PLU employees. The discount begins immediately upon admission.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (Direct Loans)

Although payments are deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time, unsubsidized loans accumulate interest while you are in school. If you can, it is recommended that you try to pay the interest on these loans while you are in school.

Loan amount: LOAN of $20,500 per year

Deadline: Applicants are considered for this loan when their FAFSA application is being processed. The loan is processed by PLU and disbursed to pay your tuition.

Number of awards: n/a

Criteria: You do not need to demonstrate need to qualify for these loans. Detailed information is available at the Federal student aid website.

Terms of the loan: This loan accumulates interest while you are in school, and when you are in your forbearance “grace period.” It is a loan, so it must be paid back with interest. When you fill out the FAFSA, there is a tool that estimates what your student loan repayment amounts will look like. Detailed information, including current interest rates,  is available at the Federal student aid website.

How to apply:

  • Fill out the Free Application For Student Aid – Please note, the FAFSA must be filled out each year that you are enrolled.
  • Once you receive your PLU award notification, you must log onto PLU’s Secure Area of Banner Web, Financial Aid Services, to Accept or Decline the loan.  Step-by-step instructions can be found on the Student Services Web Page under Graduate Student Checklist.
  • If you choose to accept the loan, you must also “Sign In” to studentloans.gov to complete the required Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note.

PLUS Loan (Direct Loans)

Although payments are deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time, unsubsidized loans accumulate interest while you are in school. If you can, it is recommended that you try to pay the interest on these loans while you are in school. These loans differ from Unsubsidized Stafford Loans in that they have a higher interest rate and require a credit check.

Loan amount: LOAN to meet any unmet need up to the total estimated cost of attendance for the program.

Deadline: Applicants are considered for this loan when their FAFSA application is being processed. The loan is processed by PLU and disbursed to pay your tuition.

Number of awards: n/a

Criteria: You do not need to demonstrate need to qualify for these loans. Unlike the Stafford loan, borrowers must pass a credit check. Detailed information is available at the Federal student aid website.

Terms of the loan: This loan accumulates interest while you are in school, and when you are in your forbearance “grace period.” It is a loan, so it must be paid back with interest. When you fill out the FAFSA, there is a tool that estimates what your student loan repayment amounts will look like. Detailed information, including current interest rates,  is available at the Federal student aid website.

How to apply:

  • Fill out the Free Application For Student Aid – Please note, the FAFSA must be filled out each year that you are enrolled.
  • Once you receive your PLU award notification, you must log onto PLU’s Secure Area of Banner Web, Financial Aid Services, to Accept or Decline the loan.  Step-by-step instructions can be found on the Student Services Web Page under Graduate Student Checklist.
  • If you choose to accept the loan, you must also “Sign In” to studentloans.gov to complete the required Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note.

Yellow Ribbon ProgramPLU Graduate Programs are yellow ribbon

Pacific Lutheran University is proud to partner with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to offer an unlimited number of full-tuition Yellow Ribbon Scholarships to qualified veterans or their dependents.

For detailed information about this benefit and eligibility, see the Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program FAQ.

For more information about using your post 9/11 GI benefits at PLU, please contact PLU’s Veterans Benefits Coordinator Neshell Henkel Chabot at 800-678-3243, 253-535-7161, or henkelnd@plu.edu.


Vocational Rehab & Other Benefits

At PLU, we are committed to assisting you with getting the most from your benefits. If you qualify for Vocational Rehab, or any other benefits, our dedicated Student Services Coordinator will work with you to help you fill out the paperwork you need for the VA. Please contact Neshell Henkel Chabot at 800-678-3243, 253-535-7161, or henkelnd@plu.edu.