Student Financial Services Play an Important Role in Student Success

Student Financial Services Play an Important Role in Student Success

Brisa Ramirez

David Hernandez, Class of 2015, started his journey at Southwestern Adventist University about $1,000 short of making his first payment. He made his way to the office of Duane Valencia, Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Services. Valencia was very helpful and supported Hernandez in finding a scholarship that would bridge the gap and allow him to make his first payment.

At the beginning of every year, Hernandez found himself back in Duane Valencia’s office with financial concerns. Valencia took the time to go over the details of Hernandez’s current financial aid and needs. He provided him with support and resources, making it possible for Hernandez to continue his education.

All this was not without effort and hard work on Hernandez’s part. During college he spent four semesters canvassing, selling Christian books door to door with the local literature evangelism program, worked at Lake Whitney Ranch summer camp, and took on odd jobs for community members. The combination of his earnings, matching funds from financial aid and an abundance of scholarships from generous donors helped him earn enough to be able to pay for his tuition. 

David Hernandez is just one example of a student who was supported by the hidden heroes at SWAU’s Department of Student Financial Services. This department is a resource for future and current students who are seeking scholarships or who simply need advice over what financial aid options are available to them. From the myriad of scholarships available to matching opportunities, those who need resources can be assured that a financial counselor will be able to help! 

Half a decade later, Hernandez is a SWAU alum who now works as a COVID-19 crisis response nurse in Houston, Texas. He’s thankful for his time at Southwestern Adventist University and for the help that made it financially possible for him to continue his studies every semester. He remembers thinking how difficult it would be to raise the funds needed to attend SWAU and is grateful that God worked everything out. 

“If you want to commit to something, it’s possible. You have to put in the work, and God will do the rest,” he shares. “To future knights unsure of how they will be able to attend, simply reach out to a financial counselor, they’ll support you each step of the way!”

More information about financial services is available at