The readership of this magazine is a widely diverse group, but we all have something in common: We are all champions for Washington University in St. Louis and for the outstanding students and faculty who put their gifts to work in service of the greater good. We are all believers in the power of a WashU education to transform lives and illuminate new paths toward increased health, knowledge, justice and joy.
In recent years, though, the power of a WashU education — and of higher education in general — has been undermined by soaring costs that put a greater burden on families than in generations past. As a result, there are many bright, passionate young individuals from lower- and middle-income families who, upon graduation and well into adulthood, are compelled to prioritize loan repayment ahead of their own dreams, purposes, personal wealth-building and the betterment of society. While we’ve done excellent work to cultivate a socioeconomically diverse student body at WashU, we could do more to ensure that students graduate and take their next steps on an even playing field.
For that reason, beginning this fall, WashU will no longer include student loans in undergraduate financial aid packages. Instead, we’ll fill the gap with scholarships and grants, with the hope that WashU students will feel compelled to pursue educational and professional paths that are most meaningful to them, rather than most immediately financially rewarding. Beyond that, we hope to do our part to maximize each graduate’s potential to contribute to the betterment of society, build personal wealth and meet personal or family goals, and foster economic growth in their communities.
We are immensely proud of this step toward educational equity, and we are equally grateful that we have the resources to make this dream a reality. WashU — like many of our peers that have already taken this step — has a sizable and growing endowment and a generous network of alumni, friends and philanthropic supporters who believe in our students and our mission.
Your support brought us here, and the continued success of Make Way: Our Student Initiative, a fundraising effort launched in fall 2022, will allow us to offer no-loan financial aid packages in perpetuity. By eliminating undergraduate student loans, we have aligned our resources with our mission in a significant way. Together, we are unlocking the potential of every future WashU student to make a unique mark on the world.