Why is WashU not need-blind?

WashU is by all measures an outstanding institution with a great reputation. There are over 100 colleges/universities that are need blind for admissions (or claim to be). With an $8 BB endowment – far higher than most need-blind colleges – why isnt’t WashU? I believe they are only need aware for 10% of their admits, but why not for all of them with all they money they have and as much money as they spend on having nice dorms and a beautiful campus?

This is well known back in 2020 - they recruit and admit the wealthy.

There are other need aware schools. Yes, by endowment per student, they are strong - and likely want to stay that way. That’s how they roll - you’d have to speak to the board of directors to find out.

But they meet need (as you say if they want to) and they offer scholarships.

If you are a full need student, I’d still apply - but since it’s a reach regardless of need, I’d obviously have many others in case you do get turned down.


As of today, they are now need-blind (domestic applicants). Better late than never!

Not sure if I can post a link, but can search “WU to adopt need-blind policy starting this admissions cycle”


Yes. It’s on the front page of the student newspaper. They were getting beaten up over the prior policy, but in fairness, they were only admitting slightly fewer need-based applicants than their peers (40.7% vs about 44.5% on average) AND their average grant award was actually about $7,000 more/student.

Total FT aid award per FT undergrad was about 21,800 which places them comfortably in the middle of the grant aid/FT student ratio for need blind universities.

The $800 million earmarked for undergrad aid will throw off another $32 million of funds per year.

If they had that money for use in the class entering fall 2020, they would have had $26,330 in aid / FT student. Less than Princeton, Harvard, MIT and Stanford at that time. But more than any other national university.

That position won’t hold for this cycle as other schools are also increasing their aid, but they’ll probably be somewhere middle of the pack vs national universities 6 to 16.

Excellent points by JustVisiting76 as WashU does only admit slightly fewer need-based applicants than their peers.

Their class of 2025 includes residents of all 50 states and 45 different countries. In addition, 10% of admitted students are the first generation in their families to attend college, 13% are Pell Grant-eligible, 15% are Latino and 15% are Black.

My S17 just graduated from one of only five colleges in the US that is need blind for both US students as well as internationals. Yet every year almost exactly the same amount of students are on financial aid and the rest are full pay. This is true for most colleges. If colleges are truly need blind then the percentages, in my opinion, would vary more year to year. If anyone has an explanation for why there is not more variation year to year I would love to know!

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