WUSTL to expand financial aid for low-income families

Washington University in St. Louis has announced that it will eliminate need-based loans as part of its undergraduate financial aid awards to students from low- and middle-income families.

Beginning in fall 2008, both entering freshmen and returning full-time undergraduate day-school students with parental incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to take out need-based loans and will instead receive grants from the university that will not have to be repaid. Families with parental income somewhat higher than $60,000 also may receive additional student loan relief based on demonstrated need and their financial circumstances.

The additional grant aid will be funded by the increase in spending from scholarship and unrestricted endowments in the university’s four schools with undergraduate programs, as well as from unrestricted university resources.

In recent years, about 60 percent of all Washington University undergraduate students received financial aid, but Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said that this new initiative will further increase the ability of students from low- and middle-income families to attend the university.

“Washington University has a long tradition of working individually with the families of our students to customize a financial aid award that ensures cost does not stand in the way of making a Washington University education a reality,” Wrighton said.

“This new initiative and its goal of helping families with the most need will not lessen our desire, responsibility or ability to work with all of our families to ensure they have the financial resources they need to send their sons and daughters to Washington University. We remain committed to a flexible and independent approach to delivering financial aid to those who need it most.”

This commitment is over and above the $60 million the university already has committed to its financial aid programs.