Making SWAU Possible: The $3,000 Freshman Scholarship

March 1, 2022

KEENE, TEX. – “I never thought I’d go to college at all,” says Daniel Herrera, first year theology major at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU). “The Freshman $3,000 Scholarship made it possible for me to be here, and has opened doors to experiences I never dreamed I’d have.” 

Herrera is one of many first-year students who have benefitted from this scholarship, which is made possible thanks to many committed church member donors throughout this region. Open to any student from the Southwestern Union: Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, the fund is stackable—meaning it can be added to any other financial aid awarded—in order to provide more students with the gift of a Christian education at SWAU.

“My professors have really made my experience at SWAU a positive one,” says Gladys Barrios, freshman biochemistry major and scholarship recipient. “All of them record their lectures so if we have a question or want to review a specific topic after class, we can. They’re also very accessible, friendly and responsive.”  

The SWAU experience isn’t just the classroom; it’s holistic. Students find their place not only academically but spiritually and socially as well. The Freshman Scholarship offers full-time first year students the chance to expand their horizons and explore opportunities they may not otherwise have.  

“SWAU really helped me realize who I am,” says Herrera. “I thought I wasn’t good at meeting new people and assumed that I’d just stay in my own little corner as a freshman. But there were so many opportunities that I quickly got involved not only on campus, but doing off-campus events at conference churches, as well. I never thought I’d do something like that at all.” 

Kevin Roblero, freshman music education major who was awarded the $3,000 Freshman Scholarship, also found himself growing in unexpected ways at SWAU.  

“As a Hispanic violinist, I’ve done a lot of playing in Spanish churches, but that’s about it,” shares Roblero, freshman music education major. “Since I’m involved with SWAU’s orchestra, I’ve been able to play in a variety of settings, and every time I play somewhere new, I’m blown away. I constantly ask myself how I got here, able to praise God with my music in so many different ways and places.” 

Over the past three years, SWAU’s Freshman Scholarship has made it possible for students to experience God in new ways, including unique worship opportunities, spiritually centered student clubs, expressions of faith, volunteer opportunities and more. The fund has awarded nearly a million dollars to SWAU students. 

“All of our teachers take the time to pray before starting class, so God is guiding us through every lecture,” explains Barrios. “There are also different worship opportunities nearly every night, plus vespers, church and small groups. I have been built up spiritually so much, even in the short time I’ve been on the SWAU campus.” 

Visit to learn more about the $3,000 Freshman Scholarship fund.

By Becky St. Clair