Access to a world-class education shouldn’t depend on your financial circumstances.
In 2019–20, Washington University provided more than $295 million in financial aid to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Donors like you are essential in this effort. 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.
McKelvey School of Engineering, Class of 2021
My scholarship has opened doors I didn’t know existed. I have provided for myself financially since I was 15 years old, balancing fast food jobs with academics and extracurricular activities throughout high school. College was never an option in my mind.
During my senior year, a guidance counselor asked why I wasn’t applying to colleges when I had a 4.0 GPA, which no one had asked me before. Once I knew I could go to college, I had to figure out how to pay for it. I started thinking about how many student loans I would have to take out, which resulted in a lot of anxiety. Receiving a scholarship changed everything, allowing me the financial security to imagine a totally different path forward
I am so grateful to be a part of the supportive WashU community. When I graduate, I plan to use my chemical engineering degree to help create more sustainable technologies and practices. In honor of the many people who have encouraged and supported me along the way, I hope to make the world a better, healthier, and more equitable place. And once I can, I plan to give back to help the next generation of students.
WashULaw, Class of 2021
As a first-generation student and veteran who worked her way from a San Diego community college through the University of Pennsylvania, I knew I needed significant assistance to afford Washington University. My scholarship made it possible for me to attend the School of Law and helped me chart a new course toward achieving my career goals.
WashU is a truly great place to study law where everyone is deeply invested in my success. I aspire to a law career that draws on my military experience while allowing me to serve others. Last summer I was a legal intern at Textron Systems, a Fortune 500 aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm. I’ve secured a job with the company pending my graduation from WashU, and I look forward to leveraging the position to learn more about the legal aspects of the defense industry.
My 16-year-old son, Trevor, wants to be an engineer. My deepest hope is that he learns from my example that education is one of the surest routes to personal and professional development. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue this path.
Arts & Sciences, Class of 2022
Attending college was an inevitability for my older sister and me because our parents were adamant about its importance. It wasn’t inevitable that my family would be able to afford the tuition. My parents are both college educated, and our middle-class lifestyle was financially stable. Even still, I knew my dream of attending Washington University was contingent on receiving significant scholarship support.
Because of my scholarship, I can pursue my passion for sociology in a supportive, academically rigorous, and interdisciplinary environment. My first year at WashU, I took a course about health disparities from Professor Hedwig Lee, who also is the sociology department’s director of undergraduate studies. The class transformed my understanding of the relationship between race and health care. It also inspired me to pursue health law and health advocacy after I graduate.
In addition to fulfilling my academic aspirations at WashU, I sing with Mosaic Whispers, the university’s oldest coeducational a cappella group; mentor young people living in Clinton-Peabody, a public housing community in downtown St. Louis; and make some extra spending money by working at Bear Necessities, a nonprofit store that raises scholarship funds by selling WashU gear in the South 40. My experience at WashU has been everything I hoped for.
University College, Class of 2021
Before coming to Washington University, I accrued a sizable amount of student debt while trying to find the educational path for me. To handle this debt, I took a job with a startup company in St. Louis. There, my chief technology officer learned about my passion for economics and encouraged me to look into WashU.
Two years later, I’m working full-time as a software engineer for a consulting firm and—thanks to the scholarships I received—in my fifth semester at University College. I love the personalized attention. My professors care about how I am doing in class, and they are invested in my ability to succeed in life. I currently work with Leonard Green, professor of psychological & brain sciences and economics, in his behavioral economics to research the concept of value discounting. Using my background in computer science and software engineering to examine the intersection of qualitative and quantitative results has been highly rewarding.
Following graduation, I plan to earn a master’s degree in statistics and pursue a career in education and academia. I want to have a positive impact on the lives of students and help them the way my teachers have helped me through the years.
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, March Class of 2022
At age 12, my life changed dramatically when, after my mother’s long hospitalization, my brother was born prematurely with health complications. My family was faced with steep medical expenses, which caused considerable financial stress. The cost of my education is something I take seriously because it is my responsibility.
After completing my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in architecture. I had not considered Washington University previously because of the expense, but I decided to apply because I knew it was an ideal time to invest in my education and position myself for a successful career.
I was thrilled when the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts offered me scholarship support, making it possible for me to attend without accruing insurmountable debt. I am now working toward two master’s degrees, in architecture and construction management, through the joint-degree program. I’m confident that leaving WashU with both skills will broaden my opportunities in a competitive field and allow me to take a more holistic approach to projects.
I am grateful for the scholarships that made it possible for me to join the creative and inspiring community at WashU—and to receive a truly top-notch graduate education.
Washington University Program in Physical Therapy, Class of 2022
I chose to pursue a career in physical therapy after working as a designer in the apparel industry in New York City for almost a decade. I needed a big change, and physical therapy combined many of my passions—movement, preventative care, and helping others.
Now in my second year in the Program in Physical Therapy, I am thrilled to be a part of the collaborative WashU community. Dr. Ryan Duncan has been particularly influential, as an instructor and a mentor. When the pandemic canceled our first clinical, Dr. Duncan found creative ways to enhance our clinical reasoning through weekly discussions during our online course. I am a student liaison to the American Physical Therapy Association, and he has generously shared his time to help me better understand the critical work of the organization and encourage me to be more involved.
Scholarship support has afforded me the freedom to pursue my aspirations and to make the most of my time here at WashU. In particular, I have been able to choose clinical sites based on my professional goals, not what’s most affordable or closest to campus. I cannot wait to pay it forward by making a difference in the lives of my patients.