Beginning next fall Missouri’s Washington University will offer free college to all qualifying students entering as first year freshmen and undergraduate students currently enrolled in the university.
MissouriNet reports the plan is to allow students whose families earn under $75,000 a year and qualify for assistance under the Federal Pell Grant system to be eligible.
The university, considered the state’s “Ivy League” school, will make the full-ride scholarships available to low- and middle-income students from Missouri and southern Illinois. During an inaugural ceremony on Thursday, new Chancellor Andrew Martin made a big splash by announcing the new WashU Pledge financial aid program.
“We are making this WashU pledge first because it’s the right thing to do,” says Martin. That means we have a unique responsibility to provide opportunity for students in our extended region — to the four corners of Missouri and our neighbors in the southern portion of Illinois. By doing so, we’re attracting our very best and brightest and keeping them right here, close to home.”
WashU Pledge is for first-year undergraduates who are Pell Grant eligible or are from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less. It includes the full cost of tuition, room, board and fees.
Recipients would get the benefit for all four years without having to re-apply for the program.
“Our hope and expectation is that these students will come to the university, have an exceptional experience and — then — post-graduation choose to stay in the region to work, start their own businesses, conduct important research or practice their craft,” Martin said. “This will boost the St. Louis regional economy and deepen our local talent pool.”
Washington University also has the Start Up Grant program that substantially offsets the cost of books and personal items. WashU Pledge students would also continue to be eligible for these grants.
The university’s advertised undergraduate tuition for the 2019-20 academic year is roughly $52,400. On-campus undergraduate double occupancy housing ranges from $11,176 to $11,650. Many of the school’s students receive financial aid and scholarships to help offset these charges.
According to Jill Friedman, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, she says the school is paying for the program through a combination of additional funding that has been raised and will continue to be raised and a prioritization of discretionary funds the university already has.
As of earlier this year, the university had $8.5 billion being managed by the University with $7.6 in endowments making it the most well-endowed university in the state. The University of Missouri, Columbia topped $1 billion in endowments for the first time last year.
–Metro Voice News