Named after the French Bishop of Tours, Saint Martin’s University was established in 1893 by Abbot Bernard Locnikar, O.S.B., from Saint Martin’s Abbey. Initially, its four-story structure offered college preparatory classes for young men. It wasn’t until 1965 that SMU transformed into the private, co-educational Roman Catholic liberal arts institution of today. Endowed for $12.8 million, Saint Martin’s is inspiring over 1,400 undergraduates and 300 post-graduates to “Think With Heart.” With a full-functioning Benedictine monastery, SMU occupies 380 suburban acres in Lacey, Washington, just 5.4 miles east of Olympia. Boasting a retention rate of 79 percent, Saint Martin’s University has produced alumni like Justin Leone and Butch Otter.

According to the U.S. News, Saint Martin’s is the 40th best regional university, 22nd most veteran-friendly school, and seventh best value in the West. In particular, the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering has America’s 185th best bachelor’s degrees in engineering. On Niche, SMU was applauded as the 111th “Best College with No Application Fee” and 171st “Safest College Campus” nationwide.  Washington Monthly  crowned SMU the 180th top master’s-level university for social mobility, service, and research. College Factual placed Saint Martin’s in the United States’ top 15 percent for gender diversity.  The Puget Sound Business Journal  also ranked SMU 11th for highest average post-graduate salary statewide.

Saint Martin’s University Accreditation Details

Continuously since 1933, Saint Martin’s University has held regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Therefore, associate to master’s degrees at SMU are approved under the U.S. Department of Education and the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB). Other discipline-specific accreditations include:

• Engineering Accreditation Commission of the ABET
• Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)
• Accreditation Council on Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
• Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
• Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Saint Martin’s University Application Requirements

Classified as “selective,” Saint Martin’s University had an acceptance rate of 93 percent in Fall 2015. Enrolling as a Saint requires first-year applicants to achieve a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Freshmen are evaluated holistically based on rigor of their coursework and service leadership experience. However, the average admitted GPA is high at 3.45. Undergrads also present a mean SAT score of 1140 and ACT score of 23. Advanced Placement credits such as AP Biology or French must be scored “3” or higher for transfer. Non-native English speakers must score at least 80 on the TOEFL iBT to avoid remedial courses.

Incoming students to Saint Martin’s with 20+ credits from other regionally accredited colleges are admitted as transfers. The RN-BSN will require transfers to hold 21 credits of nursing core coursework. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering also mandates a minimum 2.5 GPA with “C” or better in calculus and introductory physics. A maximum of 90 credits can be obtained via transfer and the FOCUS program. Graduate admission at SMU requires a baccalaureate degree in a relevant major from accredited institutions. Attaining an overall 2.75 GPA or better is expected, but additional criteria varies. For example, the MEM program entails passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Saint Martin’s University accepts their online admission form or the Common Application for free from domestic undergraduates. Graduate students must add a $50 non-refundable fee. Priority review deadlines are extended each month from November 1st through March 1st. Please send the following:

• Official, sealed academic transcripts
• College entrance exam scores
• School guidance counselor form
• One to three recommendation letters
• Response to at least one essay prompt
• Copies of credentials (RN license, teaching certification, etc.)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduates from any U.S. state or foreign country are charged $35,250 for annual tuition. This breaks down to $17,625 each full-time semester. Room and board is estimated to cost $5,410 and $5,620 respectively. Fees, such as the $250 activity fee and $156 health center fee, are mandatory. Saint Martin’s also suggests budgeting $1,000 for textbooks and $2,000 for transportation yearly. Total annual cost of attendance is roughly $47,534 for residential undergraduates. Master’s programs charge civilian graduate scholars $1,190 and military members $470 per credit. The Secondary Teaching Alternative Route (STAR) is an exception, billing $675 per credit.

The NCES states the 93 percent of beginning, full-time Saints earn financial aid packages worth $23,192 on average. Institutional awards, including the Benedictine Scholars Scholarship, Abbot Roth Scholarship, America’s Service Heroes Scholarship, Athletic Talent Scholarship, and Brandon-Keith Pellerin Scholarship, are numerous. Federal programs are available like the Pell Grant, FSEOG, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. “Evergreen State” residents may obtain the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship or State Need Grant. DACA immigrants can qualify under the Hope/DREAM Act. Federal Work-Study jobs offer at least $11 per hour. SMU students can also carefully borrow Federal Perkins, Direct, and Grad PLUS loans.

Student Experience

Saint Martin’s is a religious, liberal arts university grounded in Benedictine values to promote intellectual and spiritual growth across four colleges. Undergraduates pick from 25 majors, such as Civil Engineering, Community Services, Religious Studies, and Sociology and Cultural Anthropology. Pre-professional tracks for eight fields from optometry to law exist. Saints also access seven master’s programs, including a fast-track MBA. With an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, courses foster meaningful discussions with tenured professors. Each program requires a senior capstone project for hands-on academic inquiry. In fact, the O’Grady Lady has a 24/7 chat service for drop-in research help.

Compassionate service learning for social justice is a hallmark of SMU’s education. Starting with the first-year orientation, students are immersed in volunteer work in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Missions have taken learners abroad to 20+ countries like Argentina, Ghana, Italy, and Japan. Responding to God’s voice occurs daily at the Abbey and Spangler prayer room. Saint Martin’s ideal location in Lacey fosters internships with agencies like the Joint Regional Correction Facility, Crisis Clinic, and even Washington State Senate. There’s also the 16-week Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (NSSA) for aspiring developers.

Approximately 33 percent of SMU students live in the five residence halls, including the Norcia Leadership Community. Therefore, campus life is active with around 40 student-run organizations. Based on their interests, learners could experiment with Chemistry Club, compete in Gaming Club, advocate with LGBTQA Club, perform with Polyphony Club, and more. Each year, events like the Dragon Boat Festival, Capital Food and Wine Festival, and Black-Tie President’s Gala occur. Students also cheer on their 13 varsity teams in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Saint Martin’s University particularly draws attention for its exciting basketball rivalry with Evergreen State College.

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