The Class of 2026 has officially joined the Washington University community. While this group of new undergraduate students received the same warm welcome to the Danforth Campus as previous classes, the process to admit them has been unlike any in recent years.
Learning through experience
The incoming class is WashU’s first since adopting a need-blind undergraduate admissions policy in October. With this new model, the university does not consider applicants’ ability to pay when making admissions decisions while maintaining its commitment to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need. This allows admissions officers to focus on what matters most—the achievements, character, and promise of those who aspire to attend WashU.
The shift to need-blind admissions followed an unprecedented $1 billion investment in financial aid and student support by the university—$800 million for undergraduate students and $200 million for graduate and professional students. Dubbed Gateway to Success, the commitment was made possible through an extraordinary 65% return on WashU’s endowment in fiscal year 2020-21.
“I could not be more pleased and proud that we have made good on our promise to make a Washington University education more accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their financial background,” Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said when the new admissions policy was announced. “Since I became chancellor, becoming need-blind has been a top priority. Building on the momentum that began with our previous administration, we’re finally making it happen. This is a proud moment for us as an institution, and I’m grateful to all who have contributed along the way, including our generous donors.”
Dialoguing across disciplines
For decades, alumni, parents, and friends have provided significant support for scholarships, including $591 million during Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, which concluded in June 2018. Martin called on the WashU community to redouble its efforts to ensure talented students have the training and tools they need to fulfill their promise and change the world.
“While this historic investment is certainly a cause for celebration, it’s just the beginning of the next phase of our commitment to student access and support,” Martin said. “If these are to remain our foundational principles, we must continue doing what brought us to this exciting place: investing wisely, giving generously, paying forward the support we’ve received on our journeys, and always challenging our assumptions of what people can achieve if given the opportunity.”
Learn how scholarships have helped students and recent alumni discover their purpose and pursue their dreams by reading their stories:
Contributing to scholarships
You can help Washington University build on its historic investment in students by making a gift for scholarships, fellowships, or student support. Your generosity today will open doors of opportunity for tomorrow’s leaders.