Husky Promise helps hard-working student


Erika Armengol
Erika Armengol / Marc Studer photo

By Douglas Esser
When it was cherry harvest time in the orchards around her home at Royal City in eastern Washington, Erika Armengol would work as many as 70 hours a week sorting cherries, in the rush to speed the tender fruit to market.

She also worked in apple orchards and saved some of her earnings toward her college education. But her University of Washington Bothell experience wouldn’t be possible without a package of financial aid, including a Husky Promise Grant.

“For me, Husky Promise is the opportunity to actually come to a four-year college. I know without the Husky Promise I wouldn’t be able to afford college because my parents don’t make a lot of money,” Armengol said. “Husky Promise is a big weight off you for finances.”

A double major in health studies and educational studies, Armengol is on track to graduate in June 2019. She’d like to work in health administration back home at a hospital in the Tri-Cities area where she would promote health to agricultural workers, advising them about diseases and resources for insurance.

“I know that would be a big help around the community,” she said.

In addition to Husky Promise, Armengol is receiving a State Need Grant and a federal Pell Grant. She also has also received a scholarship from the Paul Lauzier Endowment in Ephrata, which is funded by the estate of a sheep and cattle rancher who developed center pivot irrigation farming in Grant County.

Armengol received help as a student at Royal City High School from Upward Bound, a federally funded program out of Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake that  motivates and supports students, including assistance with applications for college, financial aid and scholarships. Armengol also took advantage of the Running Start program in high school for a one-year head-start in college.

Now at UW Bothell, Armengol works 13 hours a week as a proctor with Disability Resources for Students, helping disabled students with tests and scheduling. She joined the Latinx Student Union. And she volunteered fall quarter in the North Star Program, mentoring seventh-graders at Voyager Middle School in Everett. The experience aligned with her goal of becoming an adviser.

“I’ve thought about this a lot because I really want to go back home and tell people to explore colleges. See which one is best for you for the career you want to pursue,” Armengol said. “UW Bothell is a great campus. It’s small but you get that teacher interaction. They’re welcoming. There’re a lot of resources, opportunities, help. Great advisers, great staff.”

The Husky Promise is the guarantee that qualified students will not be denied a University of Washington bachelor’s degree because of the cost.

In the 10 years since the program began, about 39,000 students have had their tuition covered. In the 2016-17 school year, nearly 10,000 students attended the UW thanks to Husky Promise, about 1,600 at the UW Bothell campus. This year there are 1,535 Husky Promise students at UW Bothell, according to the Office of Financial Aid.

The Husky Promise covers the full tuition and standard fees for Washington state students who are admitted to the University and qualify. Tuition is covered first by federal and state grants, such as the Pell Grant or State Need Grant. The UW may add institutional grants or scholarships. Additional grant, scholarship, work-study and loan funds are available to help with other costs, such as books, room and board.


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