Tuition Assistance at SGS: A Chat with Mike Akiyama

Director of Business Operations, Mike Akiyama, answers some common questions on tuition assistance at SGS.
Hi, Mike! Thanks for taking the time to chat about tuition assistance. Before we get into that, can you tell us a little about your background and how you ended up here at SGS?
I grew up in the Seattle area and have been spent the majority of my career managing financial functions, operations and financial systems for Seattle based corporations. One of the things I’ve learned about myself is I enjoy supporting the development of youth, whether it be through coaching youth sports, tutoring or utilizing my financial and operational skills. Being part of the SGS community and around the creative, energetic students is both fun and fulfilling.

How does TA work at SGS? Can you speak to the application process and philosophy?
The tuition assistance process begins with completing an online application. There is a link to the application on the SGS website. Completing the application involves answering questions and uploading a few documents. We use the vendor Blackbaud for collecting and processing the applications. Blackbaud has excellent customer support that you can reach by phone or online chat. When you have a question about how to complete the application, give them a call.

Tuition assistance at SGS is based on financial need and it supports the belief that students should have an opportunity for an exceptional education regardless of economic status.

How does TA enhance the SGS mission and/or community?
SGS values equity, diversity and inclusion. TA supports our mission and belief in providing an exceptional education regardless of economic status.

How often does a family apply for TA?
Families apply for tuition assistance each school year. While assistance each year is not guaranteed, if the family income or assets have not changed, the amount of assistance will be in line with the previous year.

How is SGS TA funded?
Tuition assistance is primarily supported by donations and an endowment fund. Each year there are fundraising events, like our Annual Luncheon, that raise money specifically for tuition assistance. The donations we receive are a great reflection of the community’s support for SGS’s mission and values.

What is the average award of TA?
The average tuition award for the students receiving tuition assistance for the current school year is approximately $25,000. Awards range from a couple thousand dollar to full tuition awards. As I mentioned previously, the awards are determined based on financial need.
Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.