Local restaurant’s college tuition program offers students a way to pay for college
By JORDAN LEWIS
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
Signing off on upwards of $16,000 plus interest can be pretty scary at 18 years old, but tossing dough could cover the cost of tuition.
Bullwinkle’s Pizza a locally owned Juneau restaurant offers its employees the opportunity to participate in a scholarship program on top of their hourly wages. The program could solve a student’s financial struggle as long as they’re willing to work for it.
President and owner of Bullwinkles Inc. Mitch Falk explained both the history of the program as well as how it works.
“It started with the original founder of Bullwinkles back in 1973. He started the program probably in the ‘70s, early ‘70s,” he said. “He came out of Vietnam and he started going to school down in Idaho, working, kinda raising a family, and all of it combined became too much.”
Falk explained the original owner started the scholarship program in the hope of alleviating the financial pressure of local college students. “He took the opportunity to remember what was going on with him and he offered the scholarship program,” he said.
The original requirements to participate in the program were that an employee needed to work part-time and maintain a C average.
Falk decided to raise the bar after he took over the business 10 and a half years ago. “You work part-time, you get a B, we pay for your tuition,” Falk said.
Additionally, each person who receives the scholarship is pre-approved by Falk, and depending on the number of employees that want to participate. It is first come first serve.
“[The scholarship program] allows kids the opportunity to, without going into too much debt, to go school and be able to work and pay that off at the same time,” he said. “We fluctuate their work schedule around their school schedule so that it does not interfere because we want them to go to school. This basically covers their tuition at UAS.”
The program is successful, “We’ve put over 220 kids through college,” Falk said.