Chancellor announces $70 million increase to need-based aid fundraising commitment

Chancellor Mark Wrighton discusses the contents of his message to the Washington University community Wednesday morning. Wrighton announced an increase in need-based financial aid, to be supplied through fundraising efforts as a part of the University’s Leading Together campaign.

In an email to students and community members, Chancellor Mark Wrighton announced Washington University has increased its long-term fundraising goals by $70 million to fund more need-based aid.

The University is already allocating more money to increase socioeconomic diversity, and the additional funds will be used to make the changes sustainable in the long term.

The chancellor’s letter Wednesday marks an increased commitment to improving access to higher education at every point of the pipeline, from trying to prepare local high school students for higher education to making finances a progressively less meaningful factor in admission decisions.

“Throughout my nearly 19-year tenure as chancellor, Washington University’s priority has been to provide an educational experience that is among the very best in the nation and that is accessible and affordable,” Wrighton wrote.

Provost Holden Thorp said they have already started reworking finances to make more Pell Grants available to students in all future incoming classes.

“The fundraising piece is really important for the long-term, but in the short term, the chancellor, [vice chancellor for finance] Barb Feiner and I just have to figure out how we can come up with more financial aid dollars every year with the resources that we have,” Thorp said.

“We’re not putting all of our eggs in the development basket,” he added.

The University’s Leading Together campaign is now looking to raise a total of $2.27 billion to fund improvements across the school’s numerous campuses. Having launched in 2009, it will run through 2018.

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