Education and Success Within Reach

Washington University is committed to making sure a college education is within reach for all our students. We know college is a big investment, which is why we have created several initiatives to set our students up for success during their time at WashU and beyond. 

WashU: Your Gateway to Success

New for applicants for Fall 2022: WashU now has a need-blind admissions process. That means your ability to pay will never be part of the admission decision process. And, when we offer you admission, we ensure you are able to attend by meeting 100% of your demonstrated financial need.

On-going aid efforts that ensure every student has a true WashU experience

We meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted full-time students.

We replace loans with additional scholarship for students from families making $75,000 or less annually.

We offer additional financial support including scholarships, grants, bookstore credit, summer earnings replacements, and more! Check out each of our financial aid initiatives below.

Washington University has announced the Gateway to Success Initiative, a $1 Billion additional financial aid commitment from the university that allows us to be immediately and forever “need blind” in our admission process for first-year domestic applicants. WashU will no longer consider an applicant’s financial situation or ability to pay when making admissions decisions. 

Common questions

What does “need blind” mean? 

WashU will not consider an applicant’s financial situation or ability to pay when making admissions decisions. Additionally, WashU continues to guarantee to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students admitted to the university. So, whether a student needs a small amount of assistance or the total cost of attendance, they will be considered for admission based on their abilities, not on their ability to pay. 

Why is this important? 

We want to make WashU accessible to every qualified student. We do this by removing barriers to admission and providing financial resources to make sure all qualified students are able to attend, regardless of their ability to pay. In our review, we look for evidence of academic potential, strong personal characteristics and qualities, activities and commitment, and potential for fit and engagement in the WashU community. 

Why is this possible now?

This investment in our students, which the university is calling Gateway to Success, is possible largely as a result of the extraordinary 65% return on the university’s Managed Endowment Pool for the 2020-21 fiscal year. It includes $800 million in endowed funding to support need-blind undergraduate admissions. 

What about people who can afford tuition? Will this make it harder for non-aid applicants to be admitted?

All applications will be reviewed in a holistic and individualized manner with one goal in mind: to get to know the applicant as a person and understand how that student would both benefit from and contribute to the WashU experience.

If you are “need blind” do I still need to submit a FAFSA and apply for Financial Aid

Yes! It is important that you complete your financial aid application by the stated deadline for your decision plan. We will use the information in your financial aid application to ensure we are meeting 100% of your demonstrated need.  

Does this apply to all applicants?  

Our need blind admissions policy applies to all first-year domestic applicants for undergraduate admission, including DACA students. Not included in this program are international applicants, transfer students, and students admitted from our wait list, although we meet 100% of need for these students.

Chancellor Martin introduced the WashU Pledge, a bold financial aid program that will provide a free undergraduate education to incoming, full-time Missouri and southern Illinois students who are either Pell Grant-Eligible or come from a family with $75,000 or less in annual income.

Common questions

Who is eligible for the WashU Pledge?

First-year, full-time students admitted to WashU:

  • Reside in or attend high school in Missouri or are home-schooled in Missouri or
  • Reside in or attend high school in one of 53 defined counties in Illinois or home-schooled in one of these Illinois counties
  • Are Pell Grant-Eligible or come from a family with $75,000 or less in annual income
  • Are U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, DACA, or undocumented
Map of Missouri and Illinois showing counties eligible for WashU Pledge

Part-time students or students who are earning a degree from University College are not eligible.

What does the Pledge include?
  • The WashU Pledge includes scholarships and grants covering the cost of tuition, fees, room and board (based on a modern/double room and the Silver meal plan), guaranteed for all four years
  • These students will also be eligible for our first year startup grants
How can I apply for the WashU Pledge?
Will I have to pay anything back to the university?

No, once awarded students will not have to pay back any of the scholarships or grants included in the pledge.

The First Year Startup Grants are created to aid students in their college experience and help to cover expenses associated with necessary school items, including but not limited to, school supplies, residential hall supplies, and winter clothing. These grants are awarded to students coming from families with less than $75,000 in family income or who are receiving a federal Pell Grant.

The grant includes a waiver of the $1,550 summer earning expectation, a $500 bookstore credit, and $1,000 in startup grant funds.

Common questions

What funds will I receive?
  • $1,000 Startup Grant Funds:
    These funds will continue to be reflected in your financial aid award which you can see in your NetPartner portal. They can be used for necessary school items including but not limited to school supplies, residential hall supplies, and winter clothing. You are not required to purchase these items from one particular place or to show a proof of purchase.
  • $500 Bookstore Credit: These funds are sourced from the startup grant funds that will continue to be reflected in your financial aid award and will be available to you in August. This credit can be used for any item at the bookstore including but not limited to books, technology, and school supplies.
Who is eligible for the First Year Startup Grant?

The grants are for first-year students from families with less than $75,000 in family income or who are receiving a federal Pell Grant.

What is the Summer’s Earnings Expectation Replacement Grant?

Your $1,550 summer earnings expectation for entering students has been waived, increasing your overall aid. You will be able to see this in your financial aid award as “summer earnings expectation replacement grant.” A credit of $775 will be automatically applied toward university charges at the beginning of each semester for your first year.

When will I receive my funds?
  • Each semester during your first year you will receive $500 in startup grants funds, for a total of $1,000 for the student’s first year. Students will receive an email from WashU once the funds are available. You can expect your fall funds to be available in early August and your spring funds in early January.
  • Each semester during your first year you will receive a $250 bookstore credit, for a total of $500. These credits will automatically be applied to your WashU Campus Store account at the beginning of each semester. The funds will roll over each semester if not used.
How do I receive my startup grant funds?

Startup grant recipients will receive their funds through a bank direct deposit or by check. Each student will need to set up direct deposit through WebSTAC or pick up their checks from Student Financial Services once on campus.

How do I setup direct deposit for my startup grant funds?

Visit WebSTAC to receive your grant funds, refunds and other disbursements through a direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

Do I have to provide receipts for any of my purchases with my startup grant funds?

No. We do not track what you purchase with your startup grant funds. Each student’s needs are different and we leave it up to the student to decide what they need to purchase for their first-year.

Can I use my grant funds to pay my balance in WebSTAC?

No. The startup grant funds are meant to offset some of the extra costs first-year students experience outside of tuition, fees, and room and board. These funds are a resource to our students so they can fully engage in academic and campus life without the extra burden of unexpected college costs.

Why do I still have a balance on my account?

Since the startup grant funds are meant to pay for additional costs (outside of tuition, fees, room and board), credit for these funds do not show up on your student billing account. These first year funds will be directly deposited to your bank account or a physical check can be picked up at Student Financial Services.

What is the refund I received at the beginning of the semester?

Some students who qualify for the firs year startup grant may also qualify for a refund through WashU. If you are eligible for that refund you will receive those funds at the beginning of each semester in addition to your startup grant money. This refund will be available to you through direct deposit or a physical check can be picked up at Student Financial Services. If you have questions about the amount of your refund, please reach out to your Student Financial Services Counselor.

First time students who are earning a degree through one of the undergraduate schools and are receiving need-based financial aid are eligible to receive a computer during their first semester. Students will be given a campus bookstore credit of $1,115 to be used for the purchase of a laptop computer that meets current undergraduate minimum requirements. This credit must be used in the fall semester and will not roll over. If you have credit from your startup grant, you can combine that credit with your laptop purchase if the computer amount exceeds your $1,115 grant, but we have plenty of options that can be fully covered by the technology grant.

Students who qualify for the technology grant will be notified in March.

For guidance and support regarding the university’s technology requirements and recommendations visit WashU Tech Den, a technology resource center available to all WashU students.

Common questions

What funds will I receive with the Technology Grant?

This $1,115 grant will fully cover a computer meeting minimum requirements for the undergraduate divisions. These funds will not show up on your financial aid award but are available to you through an account at the WashU Campus Store and can only be used to purchase a laptop computer. This computer must be purchased during the students first fall semester. These funds will not roll over to Spring.

How do I know what kind of computer to buy?

Please refer to the WashU Tech Den website for detailed information on the type of computer you will need. Each school has different requirements. You can find several computer options on the WashU Campus Store website for purchase.

Why am I required to have a laptop?

WashU students are required to have a laptop that meets or exceeds the minimum laptop specifications for their class or school.It’s important to be able to take your school-work mobile. You will use it to take notes in class, for studying with your class-mates in the library, in study rooms or other campus locations or for remote online learning.

For more information on laptop requirements and questions please visit WashU Tech Den.

Do I have to purchase my computer through the WashU Campus Bookstore?

Yes. Your $1,115 technology grant must be used at the bookstore. You may choose which computer you would like to purchase from the bookstore’s WashU Approved options, but note that the laptop purchase must also include a 3-year accident warranty. If your model does not list a 3-year warranty bundle, contact the WashU Campus Store at CampusStoreTech@wustl.edu so it can be added to the grant purchase and enrolled.

Please note: If you have credit from your startup grant, you can combine that credit with your laptop purchase if the computer amount exceeds your $1,115 grant, but we have plenty of options that can be fully covered by the technology grant.

Can I save my Technology Grant for the spring?

No. Technology Grant Funds must be used in the fall of your first year, these will not roll over. If they are not used you will lose them.

How do I purchase my laptop with the Technology Grant?

Our office will send you an email with the computer order form in late July. You can use this order form to purchase your laptop and you will pick it up when you arrive in campus in August.

When can I purchase my computer?

Your technology grant funds will be available in late July. You will receive an email from our office with an order form link.

How will I get my computer?

You will pick up your computer in person at the bookstore once you arrive to campus.

What happens if I already purchased my computer?

WashU will not be able to reimburse you for a computer you have already purchased. However, you can use the Technology Grant to purchase a second laptop if you wish.

What are the recommended specs for a laptop for my degree?

Check out WashU Tech Den– a new site that brings together each school’s recommended hardware specifications and more.

What if I need my computer for FSAP or Summer Start?

If you are attending FSAP or Summer Start our office will send you the computer order form earlier in the summer so you can order your laptop and pick it up when you arrive on campus for the summer.

The Ida H. Early Startup Grant was created to help transfer students from the St. Louis Community College system transition to WashU. The grant provides students a one-time grant up to $2,000 for indirect educational expenses such as housing supplies, books, and other expenses to assist with their transition as a first-year student at Washington University.

Common questions

Who is eligible for the Ida Early Grant?

The Ida H. Early Grant is for transfer students coming from the St. Louis Community College System and who received the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship.

How do I get the Ida H. Early Grant?

Students will get the grant if they receive the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship. (link to Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship page).

How do I receive my startup grant funds?

Startup grant recipients will receive their funds through a bank direct deposit or by check. Each student will need to set up direct deposit through WebSTAC or pick up their check from Student Financial Services once on campus.

The generous financial aid helped me afford WashU. As a low-income student, the thought of attending such a prestigious university seemed impossible until I talked with my financial aid counselor. My experience with Student Financial Services has been remarkable – they are willing to work with your family’s situation and are readily available to talk with.

Natasha, Class of 2023

Other initiatives and commitments

  • The Student Success Fund, which covers the cost of travel to interviews, academic fees, and medical and living expenses incurred during an unpaid internship.
  • Deneb STARS, a cohort program that provides community and support to Pell-eligible and first-generation students through academic and peer mentors.
  • WashU has renewed its commitment to the American Talent Initiative (ATI)’s Accelerating Opportunity campaign, a nationwide effort to graduate an additional 50,000 low- and moderate-income students from ATI member colleges and universities by 2025.