By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — As a person of Filipino descent growing up in rural Iowa, Charlette Flanders often struggled to fit in. At St. Ambrose University, the lifelong Catholic has found a sanctuary where she feels supported academically, socially and in her faith.
“I kind of knew it was the college for me the minute I came on campus,” the 19-year-old sophomore from Ottumwa said.
She worried about being able to afford her dream college, but St. Ambrose offered Flanders scholarships — Catholic, minority student, academic and track — which made it possible to enroll. “St. Ambrose was so welcoming and accommodating.”
Many prospective students, however, are not aware of the scholarship opportunities available to them, said John Cooper, vice president for enrollment management. They may see the initial price tag and assume they can’t afford St. Ambrose. Full-time tuition for 2015-2016 academic year is $28,100, while room and board is an additional $9,582.
Especially for prospective students wanting to find a university that supports their Catholic faith, the last thing St. Ambrose wants to do is give the impression that Catholic higher education is out of reach. Cooper said a multitude of diverse scholarships are available for these students. “Some are tied to having gone to a Catholic high school. Others are for those who are active in their faith and want to continue that at St. Ambrose. Some are for members of specific parishes. Some are vocation based – and not just for future priests and religious sisters. They can be for people interested in theology or peace and justice.”
To help get the word out about these opportunities, St. Ambrose will publish advertisements about the scholarships in Catholic newspapers in Iowa and its surrounding states in November and December. St. Ambrose is also partnering with local Relevant Radio affiliates to build exposure. The university plans to increase contact with diocesan parishes and schools to inform them of the financial aid opportunities available. Cooper hopes these efforts will demonstrate St. Ambrose’s desire to make education expenses manageable. Scholarships for all students, regardless of religion, are also available, as are grants, student loans, work study and other forms of financial aid.
Father Chuck Adam, St. Ambrose’s chaplain, knows that the university has a lot to offer its students. “College is a time for deciding purpose and meaning in life, and for exploring one’s faith and spirituality. St. Ambrose students have many opportunities to be a part of the university’s rich history of community service and work for social justice by serving those in need, both locally and around the country.”
Cooper said, “At St. Ambrose, students are able to connect both faith and reason into everything they’re learning.”
Flanders, an English major with a minor in International Relations, is enjoying her time as a student. She attends Mass on Sundays, joins a prayer group at her favorite place on campus — the grotto — on Wednesdays, runs the 400 meter race on the track team, sings in the choir and works in the library through the university’s work study program. She is on the dean’s list for academics, something she is very proud of. She’s relieved to know that when her college days are completed, she won’t have to worry about having an overwhelming amount of debt. “If you want to come, St. Ambrose will help make it happen.”
Applying for scholarships
Prospective students are encouraged to complete an online scholarship application at www.sau.edu/Catholicscholarships. A university committee will review all applications and match students to qualifying scholarships. Priority deadline is Jan. 15, 2016. Admittance to the university is required for eligibility.