W&L moves to need-blind admissions

Universities such as Harvard and Yale also use need-blind practices

Liza Moore

For high school students interested in Washington and Lee Uni- versity, their eligibility for financial aid will soon no longer hinder their acceptance.

One of the most difficult processes for students is paying their college tuition. Money often limits where students will apply and, in some cases, where they are accepted.

Washington and Lee has announced that the school is moving to need-blind admissions, meaning the university will not look at the financial situation of any student until after he or she has been accepted.

The administration has not announced when the university will fully implement need-blind admissions, but the move will allow the school to accept the brightest students, regardless of financial means.

The Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid, Sally Richmond, noted that the change will allow admissions to “focus on each student’s academic preparation, intellectual curiosity, personal qualities, leadership and potential contributions to the community.” As well as accepting the most intellectually qualified students, the change also aids the school’s effort to enroll a socioeconomically-diverse student body.

“Moving to need-blind undergraduate admissions is a university strategic priority,” Richmond said.

Other universities that utilize need blind admissions include Harvard University, Yale University and Princeton University. Washington and Lee University relies heavily on alumni donations in order to support the financial needs of every student.

On the university’s funding page, the school describes how “scholarships help W&L attract great students—regardless of their financial circumstances.”

The university recently raised $160 million for student scholar- ships, which it lists as one of its top priorities. With the transition to need-blind admissions, the Alumni Affairs Office at Washington and Lee will need to raise even more money in order to cover the tuition of all students accepted to the university.

Many members of Washington and Lee’s student body are un- aware of the change to need-blind admissions, but the students who do know support the move.

Mercer Peek, ‘21, explained she “would not have had the option to attend a school of the quality” of Washington and Lee if she did not receive the Johnson scholarship. She noted that it was a fantastic move on the school’s end because need-blind admissions will allow Washington and Lee’s student body to include the most capable pool of undergraduates.

Graysen Doran, ‘21, who serves on the Executive Committee, said she believes “student’s accomplishments are more important than their financial ability,” which is why she supports the school’s decision to move to need-blind admissions.