Important FAFSA Updates

There are several important changes to the financial aid application process we want you to know about. The steps you take earlier can help make the process smoother and easier for next year!

What you need to know:

  • Did you know you can submit your FAFSA or CADAA earlier?

You will be able to file your 2017-18 FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) starting Oct. 1, 2016. That’s THREE months earlier than previously allowed!

  • You can use earlier income information.

Applicants will use prior-prior year (PPY) income information when reporting personal and family income (For example, 2015 income information will be reported on 2017-18 FAFSA or CADAA.)

What you can do now:

  • If you completed FAFSA for the 2016-17 year and did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), please go to the FAFSA website and do so now. Doing this will help avoid any discrepancies between 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years. It will also reduce the number of questions from the UWest Financial Aid Office and/or the Department of Education.
  • Complete the 2017-18 FAFSA or CADAA using 2015 income information as required, and if possible, use the IRS DRT.

If you need help with using the IRS DRT, here is a helpful video tutorial from UCSB that clearly explains the process.

If you have any questions or need additional help, please contact the Financial Aid Office or Enrollment Office.

The deadline for UWest’s 2017-18 financial aid application is May 1, 2018.
UWest FAFSA school code: 036963

UWest Speaker Series: Henry Lo


On September 29th, we are launching our first Success in America speaker series featuring our first guest, Mr. Henry Lo.

Mr. Lo has a distinguished and dedicated history as a community leader in his neighborhood. He has been a school board member for the Garvey School District for over a decade and is a founding member of the Garvey Education Foundation which has raised over $40,000 to date for the Garvey School District.

For the past three years, Mr. Lo has been a senior field representative for the California State Assembly, marking over a decade of work in the California State Legislature working as a Field Representative, Consultant, and District Director.

Henry’s commitment to education is ongoing and we are honored to have him as our guest speaker.

The Education Speaker Series will feature local community leaders who will speak about their education and how it has positively impacted their lives.

Join us September 29th at 3pm in Ken Locke Hall (ED 213) as we kick off our speaker series!


Listening to Women in Buddhism


Students from Dr. Ayo Yetunde’s REL505 course, Women in Buddhism, brought ordained women of various Buddhist traditions to speak about their experiences in their Buddhist communities. The event coincided with the 6th Annual International Bhikkhuni Day.

A Bhikkhuni is the term for ordained women in the Theravada tradition, which is the dominant form of Buddhism in countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar. Though, in the United States many of these ordained go by the title ‘Venerable’.

Drs. Ayo and Gauthier introduced the panelists Senior Venerable (Ven.) Chanda, Ven. Hong, Ven. Shakya (Hieu), Ven. Moogu, Ven. Xuewu, Ven. Wen representing traditions from China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Senior Venerable Chanda began the conversation in a moving speech of the genderless truths of the practice of Buddhism. She had ended with a blessing that reached beyond gender and tradition.

The panelists each took ten minutes reflecting on their lives as monastics and the issues that women face in the Buddhist communities and scriptures, as well as how they continue to overcome these issues.

Following the panelist discussion was an allotted time for a Q&A session from students and visitors that were eager to know more.

The introductions, the panelists’ discussion, and the Q&A session continued in our University’s trademark approach that was intimate and relaxed.

The UWest Chaplaincy Club provided light refreshments for the event and we thank Dr. Yetunde and her students for opening up her class so we can get a better look at the world of ordained Buddhist women.

Faces of UWest: Dr. Pamela Ayo Yetunde


Professor Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Th. D., makes a wonderful addition to our Buddhist Chaplaincy and Religious Studies faculty as a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence here at UWest due to a grant from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation.

Her fierce spirit and bright smile complement her brilliant scholarship in instructing our students. Dr. Ayo is teaching Buddhist Issues and Frameworks, Spiritual Formation for Buddhist Chaplains, and Women in Buddhism.

She is also a published author on personal finance and is involved with Dharma Care, a website devoted to Buddhist pastoral chaplaincy.

How long have you been teaching at University of the West?

Three whole weeks as of 12 p.m. PST on September 8, 2016!

What inspired you to teach?

I have been inspired by inspiring teachers.

Aside from teaching, how else are you involved on campus?

I intend to be involved with the Chaplaincy Club.

Outside of your work at UWest, what else are you involved in?

Given that I live in the Atlanta, Georgia area, I am getting involved in brand new adventures.  I have a few friends who live in southern California so I plan to spend time with them.  I hiked with my sister-in-law, and I just joined the YMCA.  I plan on attending the Eight Precepts Retreat at Hsi Lai Temple.

Some people may find faith and finance unrelated, so could you explain the importance of joining the two?

I have found that some people intentionally separate their faith from their finances because they know their religious traditions espouses charity, generosity, and greedlessness, and they are not prepared to radically let go of materialism and the security.  Some religious teachings can be difficult to accept as an alternative way of life in a capitalistic context where there is little to no safety net should one’s charitableness result in destitution.  Because we live in a capitalistic economic system where anyone can be preyed upon by any institution at any time, joining spiritual and economic consciousness’s becomes our best safety net when our generosity is not abused.

How would you describe the UWest culture or experience?

I have not been here long enough to answer that question thoroughly, but for now I describe the culture as “massage back.”  “Massage back” is my way of saying UWest does not promote a “cut-throat” competitive student culture, but a collaborative culture with many ways of supporting students.

Describe yourself in three words.


UWest College Day at LA Fair

It’s the time of the year for the LA County Fair! This year’s theme is “Dare to Fair” so bring your courageous self to experience the rides, food, performances and MORE! Are you up for the challenge?

University of the West’s College Day will be held on Friday, September 23. Current students, faculty and staff can redeem this coupon for FREE fair admission. Fair attendees must also present valid a UWest student ID or business card.


Alumni, friends, and family can use this coupon for reduced fair admission.


Click here for the complete list of participating colleges.

The Office of Student Life will be offering free shuttle service so sign up soon because space is limited! For those interested, sign up at the Student Community Resource Center in the ED Building.

Departing from UWest: 11:30 am, 2:00 pm, 4:30 pm, 9:00 pm

Departing from LA Fair: 3:00 pm, 6:30 pm, 11:00 pm

For more information about the LA Fair, please visit their website here.

See you there!