Access to a world-class education shouldn’t depend on your financial circumstances.
In 2020–21, Washington University provided more than $304 million in financial aid to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Donors like you provide essential student support for students that allows WashU to attract the brightest students from around the country and the world. Scholarship gifts of all sizes help ensure that our student body more accurately reflects the world at large—and that every student benefits from an environment rich with diverse perspectives.
Below, a few of our remarkable students describe what their scholarship has meant to them.
Arts & Sciences, Class of 2023
During my junior year of high school, I began searching for pre-college art opportunities and came across Portfolio Plus, a summer program offered by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University. Growing up in Massachusetts, I had never visited St. Louis or even Missouri, and I didn’t know much about WashU. But I was impressed by the program’s curriculum, so I took a chance, applied, and was accepted.
For three weeks, I stepped into life as a WashU student—and I loved it. WashU offered the precise mix of academic rigor and flexibility that I craved. Here, I could seriously study art without sacrificing my other academic interests. The collaboration among students and faculty across the university was palpable and exciting. I participated in Portfolio Plus with the help of a generous scholarship, and I knew I would need similar financial assistance in order for a WashU education to be within my reach. Gaining admission to WashU was a dream, but earning a scholarship turned it into a reality. My scholarship represents more than a financial investment. It is a vote of confidence in my potential, which has given me invaluable latitude to explore and develop my passions.
MPH, Class of 2022
I came to the United States from Sudan as a child and often struggled to understand my place in the world. Even in my large and supportive South Sudanese refugee community, I sometimes felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I knew I wanted to use my life to help people—maybe by becoming a physician—but I didn’t know where to begin. When I discovered psychology during my undergraduate studies, I knew I had found my path.
I’ve seen firsthand the many traumas experienced by underrepresented, low-income, and refugee populations. The negative mental health outcomes that can result are often swept under the rug or dismissed as weaknesses within these communities, which is something I would like to change. My time at the Brown School is helping me discover ways to increase awareness, combat stigmas, and close gaps in knowledge and practice.
As I work toward a master’s degree in public health with a focus on global health, I have big plans and a vision for the changes I want to make in this world! I’m here because I received a generous scholarship that allowed me to attend and reassured me that I belong. A lot of first-generation and refugee students have insecurities, especially at elite institutions of higher education. Scholarship donors help us see that we are welcome and capable. Receiving a scholarship feels like someone believes in you and wants you to succeed, and that’s very powerful. I’m excited about the many things I’ll achieve thanks to my education and am so thankful for the opportunities it has offered so far.
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Class of 2024
My childhood fascination with houses later evolved into a passion, and I decided that I would pursue a degree in architecture. I fell in love with the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University during WashU Preview, a program that brought historically underrepresented students to campus to visit the school. I stayed in the dorm with a current student and attended a few classes—it was inspiring!
I visited other schools, but I kept thinking about WashU. When I received the letter announcing my financial aid package, my parents were out of town and didn’t want me to open it until they got home. I knew I couldn’t wait that long, so we FaceTimed and were thrilled to learn about my scholarship! I have a twin sister and a brother who will be in college next year, so it alleviated a huge financial strain for my entire family.
I’m enjoying all my classes, but “Furniture Design” was one of my favorites. I learned to build a chair and table, and the experience helped me discover how much I love working with my hands to create beautiful and functional objects. I would not be able to pursue my long-held dream of a career in architecture without scholarship assistance, and I’m grateful for donors like you who help make my education possible.
Olin Business School and McKelvey School of Engineering, Class of 2023
I knew I wanted to study business and computer science in college. Many of the schools I considered only offered standalone majors, but Washington University’s joint degree program in Business and Computer Science (BUCS) was different. Through its partnership between Olin Business School and the McKelvey School of Engineering, the BUCS program integrated the two fields in dynamic ways that appealed to me. I was thrilled to be admitted to WashU and the BUCS program, and even more so when I learned I also received a scholarship. My scholarship felt like WashU’s way of setting me up for success now and after I graduate.
The Olin and McKelvey Engineering faculty are terrific, but I continue to gain just as much insight and inspiration from my peers. I have also met incredible mentors outside of the classroom through my participation in the business school’s Pam Kendall-Rijos Women’s Mentor Program and summer internship in the operations and technology division of Mastercard.
I expected to be challenged at WashU, but I could not have imagined the sense of community and belonging I feel. I am Korean, and I came to the university hoping to improve my fluency in the Korean language. Studying Korean stimulates a different part of my brain, and it has helped me deepen ties with my culture and my family. Family is the key word, because that is what WashU has become to me. I found my place here.
Did you know?
- WashU students were awarded $304 million in scholarship assistance during fiscal year 2021.
- In 2020-21, 42% of undergraduates received scholarship support.
- 33% of undergraduate scholarship recipients received significant assistance—50% or more of tuition.
- The average scholarship award per undergraduate student is $51,701.