2014-2015 University Catalog 
    Sep 21, 2023  
2014-2015 University Catalog archived

Admission, Expenses & Financial Aid




Financial Aid


An Invitation

Although a personal interview  is not required in the admissions process, it is recommended, and all prospective students and their parents are encouraged to visit Washington and Lee University.

The best time for students to see the University is during the spring of the junior year in secondary school or in the fall of the senior year. Candidates should try to schedule visits on a weekday while the University is in session, so they can meet with students, tour the campus,  and—most importantly—sit in on a class. During the school year, the Admissions Office in the Gilliam House is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and until noon on Saturdays. During the summer, the office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and closed all day on Saturdays.

Interviews, campus tours, class visits and discussions with professors are available between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors are requested to telephone the Admissions Office at least two weeks in advance of an intended visit, at (540) 458-8710.

Application for Admission To Washington and Lee

Washington and Lee is selective in its admission of students. Each year the University enrolls a first-year class of about 460-480 students from approximately 6,000 applicants. In addition, the University will consider applications from students who want to transfer from other institutions of higher education. Interested students may apply for admission using the Common Application available online at www.commonapp.org.

The Committee on Admissions considers each candidate’s secondary school record, class standing, standardized test scores, and record of extracurricular involvement. Recommendation letters from secondary school officials, teachers and other sources addressing the applicant’s character, intellectual curiosity, seriousness of purpose, and range of interests also play a significant role in the committee’s decisions. The University meets the full demonstrated financial need of admitted students with grants and work-study jobs, helping to ensure that cost is not the decisive factor for students considering enrolling at Washington and Lee.

Requirements for Admission

Secondary School Credits: The University assumes that applicants will have pursued courses of study which have adequately prepared them for the rigors of the University’s academic programs. Students must have a high school diploma, a GED credential, or the equivalent to be eligible for admission. Students who are enrolled in elementary or secondary school may not be simultaneously enrolled as regular students of Washington and Lee University.

A student must have completed at least 17 units in college preparatory subjects. At least 15 of these 17 units should be in English, foreign languages, mathematics, history, the social sciences and the natural sciences. Specific requirements are four units in English, three units in mathematics, three units in foreign language (preferably through the senior year), one unit in natural science (excluding general science), and one unit in history.

College Entrance Examinations: Washington and Lee requires all candidates for admission to submit the results of standardized college entrance examinations. Candidates should submit for consideration either the test results from the ACT with its writing section or the SAT.

In addition, candidates are encouraged to submit scores from two different SAT Subject Tests. The two recommended SAT Subject Tests should be chosen from two different areas of the following groups: 1. Natural Sciences; 2. Mathematics (level I or level II); 3. Foreign Languages; 4. Literature or 5. History. SAT Subject Tests are not required for admission consideration, but they are strongly recommended, particularly for applicants to the Johnson Scholarship Program.

International Students should be sure to submit the results of the school-leaving examination appropriate to their home countries, when they become available (Abitur, Baccalaureat, GCE examinations, etc.). Students who are not native speakers of English must submit results of either the SAT, the ACT, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). International students are not required to submit SAT subject-test results.

Normally, tests should be taken in October, November, or December of the candidate’s senior year, although results of tests taken earlier may be accepted. Results of tests taken in January will be considered, if they are provided to the admission office as soon as they are available.

Arrangements to take the standardized tests can be made through a high school guidance counselor or by registering online for the ACT at www.act.org or the SAT at www.collegeboard.com. These organizations will furnish information about the tests, times, locations and fees.

Of particular note, applicants with disabilities who, for any reason, are unable to take the regularly administered, required admissions tests may contact either the College Board or ACT for information about special testing arrangements.

Candidates should have their test results sent to Washington and Lee directly from the testing agency. This is important because the results are not sent automatically.

Early Decision Plans

Washington and Lee offers two Early Decision options to well-qualified applicants whose first choice is Washington and Lee University. Under the Early Decision I plan, applicants receive notice of their status by December 22 of the senior year. Under the Early Decision II plan, applicants are notified by early February of the senior year.


All applicants for the early decision programs should proceed as follows:

  1. Affirm the binding nature of W&L’s Early Decision plan by submitting the signed Common Application Early Decision Commitment Form. Submission of the ED Commitment Form indicates that W&L is an applicant’s first choice and that he or she will attend Washington and Lee if accepted. (An early decision candidate is free to make applications to other colleges with the understanding that those applications will be withdrawn should the candidate be offered admission in December or February.)

  2. Complete all materials required for admission and have them forwarded to the Admissions Office by November 1 for Early Decision I or January 1 for Early Decision II. W&L application materials are available online at www.commonapp.org.

  3. Take either the ACT with its writing portion or the SAT and have official scores sent to W&L directly from the testing agency. In addition, students are encouraged to submit scores from two SAT subject tests from different subjects. 

Successful applicants will be required to confirm their intention to enroll with a non-refundable tuition and room deposit of $1,000.

Most applicants not offered admission through the Early Decision plan will be deferred, and their applications will receive unbiased consideration under the Regular Decision review. Such candidates should have the secondary school submit a transcript of first-term grades as soon as possible. A student whose application is deferred is free, of course, to apply to other colleges.

It is possible that the Admissions Committee will deny an Early Decision application, rather than defer it for reconsideration during the Regular Decision review. The Committee will exercise this option only when it is clear that a student will not be competitive for admission during the Regular Decision review. This will allow such students to devote full attention to preparing applications to other colleges in which they have sincere interest.

Regular Application Procedure

Applicants should arrange to take the college entrance tests as set forth under Requirements for Admission. Applicants should complete all materials required for admission and have them forwarded to the Admissions Office by the Regular Decision deadline of January 1st. W&L application materials are available online at www.commonapp.org. Applicants offered admission are accepted subject to successful completion of the academic work then being undertaken.

Applications for admission may be submitted any time from August 1st of the senior year until January 1st. Applications received after January 1st can be considered only for any vacancies that develop.

Successful applicants are advised of acceptance no later than early April. Washington and Lee, along with a large number of other colleges, subscribes to the National Candidates’ Reply Deadline and does not require admitted students to confirm acceptance before May 1.

Credit for Prior Work by First-Year Students 

In order to receive Washington and Lee credit, all documentation (official transcripts, official score reports, required W&L forms, etc.) must be received by the University Registrar before the end of the first term in which the student is enrolled at W&L.  Specific policies concerning College Board Advanced Placement Examination Program credit, credit for certificates or diplomas through the International Baccalaureate Program, and how to obtain credit awarded for courses previously taken at another college or university (e.g. dual enrollment credit), is described in the catalog section on Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study.

Transfer Students

Applicants for transfer to Washington and Lee from other colleges must have completed at least one full academic year of study elsewhere and will be required to complete at least two years of full-time study at W&L prior to being eligible for a degree. Transfer students are only admitted for the fall term, beginning in September, each year.

Applications for transfer are due April 1. Students seeking admission as transfers should apply online using the Common Application for Transfer Admission, available at www.commonapp.org. W&L requires official transcripts of all post-secondary academic work and a statement of eligibility to return to each institution previously attended. Transfer applicants are also required to submit test results from the ACT, with its writing portion, or the SAT. 

While no explicit grade-point average standard exists for transfer admission, the successful transfer applicant generally will have achieved at least a B (3.000) average. Only work ccomparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit. For specific policies, see Transfer of Credit .

International Students

Washington and Lee is pleased to receive and review applications for admission from international students. Further, international applicants for places in the first-year class are eligible to apply for both need-based financial assistance and Johnson scholarship consideration. Information concerning the financial aid process is available at go.wlu.edu/financialaid.  Please note that University resources for international students have limits, and admission to the University does not guarantee financial aid. International transfer applicants are not eligible for financial support from Washington and Lee. In general, it is expected that international students granted admission will be able to provide a portion of their educational costs from personal resources.

International students applying for admission must complete the regular admissions application and should be sure to submit the results of the school-leaving examination appropriate to their home countries, when they become available (Abitur, Baccalaureat, A-level examinations, etc.). International students must submit results of the SAT, ACT, IELTS, or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Federal law requires that the procedures for certain academic and administrative policies be different for some international students. Failure to follow these different procedures and to report required information will subject both the student and the University to harsh penalties. After gaining admission, all international students should discuss reporting obligations and questions regarding academic or administrative policies (e.g., change of address, underloads, withdrawals) initially with the International Student Adviser at the Center for International Education.

Special Students

A high school graduate who gives evidence of ability to pursue selected courses of study, but who does not seek a degree, may, under certain circumstances, be admitted without fulfilling the regular entrance requirements. Special students may take any subjects for which they are prepared. If they should decide to become degree candidates, they must satisfy the normal requirements for regular admission.

A non-degree student who is enrolled in at least six credits during the fall or winter term or four credits during the spring term, and who is simultaneously employed at Washington and Lee as a special student language assistant, is considered by the University to be maintaining a full course of study.

Alumni Admission Program 

The Alumni Admissions Program (AAP) is established throughout the country to assist the University in identifying qualified students for Washington and Lee and to provide information and assistance to these prospective students, their parents and guidance counselors. AAP Committees in these areas are comprised of alumni eager to provide up-to-date information to all students interested in learning more about the unique educational opportunities offered by the University. Anyone interested in learning more about Washington and Lee should not hesitate to consult the appropriate AAP Chair, who will arrange for a personal meeting with a W&L graduate. For more information, including the contact information for your local alumni volunteer, please visit go.wlu.edu/aap.


Students’ personal expenses are determined by their habits and tastes. Therefore, no precise statement can be made regarding such expenses as clothing, travel, or incidentals. The University does not guarantee its schedule of fees to any student beyond the 2014-2015 academic year to which this catalog applies.

University Fees

(Subject to change by action of the Board of Trustees)

  1. The Comprehensive Tuition Fee for all undergraduates is $44,660 a year, payable $22,330 in mid-August before the beginning of the 12-week Fall term in September 2014, and in mid-December before the beginning of the winter term in January 2015. No separate tuition is assessed for the four-week Spring term for those students who have paid the Comprehensive Tuition Fee, and no refund of tuition is made to a student who for any reason does not attend the four-week term.  Students will not be permitted to enroll for a four-week term unless they have attended at least one of the two preceding 12-week terms in the same academic year.  In addition to instruction, the Comprehensive Tuition Fee covers the use of the laboratories, the library, recreation facilities and equipment, intercollegiate athletics (with free admission to home intercollegiate contests), and free admission to presentations of the University Theater.

  2. Students are required to make a breakage deposit in laboratories where they are assigned the exclusive use of equipment. The unused portion of such a fee is refunded when the equipment is returned.

  3. A Student Activities Fee of $245 is required of each student, payable $122.50 each 12-week term. These funds are administered by the Student Body Executive Committee to provide financial support for the yearbook, campus publications, programs of the General Activities Board, and other student body activities.

  4. A Traveller Fee of $162 is required of each student, payable $81 each 12-week term. These funds are used to support a safe driver system and a convenient campus bus route for students.

  5. A Technology Fee of $300 is required of each student, payable $150 each 12-week term. In addition, a $250 Health Services Fee is also required of each student, payable $125 each 12-week term. These fees ensure that these student services can be maintained at their current levels.

  6. A Calyx Fee of $70 is billed to each student, payable in the first term of attendance for the academic year. These fees aid in the publication of the annual year book. Those not wishing a Calyx should contact the Calyx office.

  7. A limited number of students may be permitted to enroll in undergraduate classes for credit as non-degree seeking, special students. Permissions of the faculty member teaching the course and of the Admissions Office are required. The fee for special students for 2014-2015 will be $1,595 per credit hour.

  8. A fee of $50 is required of each applicant, payable when the personal application for admission is submitted. This fee is applied to the cost of processing the application and is not returnable.

  9. A non-returnable reservation deposit of $1,000 is required of each new first-year student or undergraduate academic transfer on acceptance for admission; $1,500 (an initial deposit of $750, final deposit of $750) for each Law School new applicant or academic transfer on acceptance for admission. This payment is credited toward regular fees of the first term.

  10. The Comprehensive Tuition Fee for all Law students is $44,440 for the J.D. degree for the 2014-2015 academic year, payable $22,220 in mid-August before the beginning of the fall semester and in mid-December before the beginning of the spring semester in January 2015.  A Student Bar Association Fee of $200 is required of each student, payable $100 in mid-August and mid-December. Further information on expenses in the School of Law is contained in the Law School Catalog available from the Office of the Dean of the School of Law.

  11. All active members of a men’s or women’s fraternity/sorority are assessed a Greek Member Fee

  12. A Study Abroad Fee is required for each semester a student receives credit for study abroad. The fee is $1,250 for each fall or winter term abroad and $375 for summer. The funds from these fees are used by the University for Administrative Services of the Registrar’s, Business, and Financial Aid offices to support W&L’s study abroad program.

Billing and Payment

Students are notified through their W&L email that billing statements are available on the Generals Payment System (“GPS”). GPS is an electronic system that allows students and parents/guardians to view bills and make payments online. The initial billing for the first 12-week term is released around July 15. Billing for the second 12-week term is released around November 15. To enable parents or guardians to receive the same email for monthly billing notification, students must establish parents or guardians as “authorized payers” on GPS. Authorized payers can log on to GPS to view bills and make payments. The University does not mail paper billing statements.

University grants and loans; state scholarships, grants, and awards; Pell Grants, Supplemental Equal Opportunity Grants (SEOG), and Perkins Loans are credited on bills in accordance with the regulations and procedural requirements of the funding agency.

Upon authorization from men’s and women’s fraternity /sorority chapters, the University may include their charges on University bills. These charges will be considered amounts owed to the University.

Statements must be paid promptly. Each bill contains a due date, generally the 10th of the following month. Payment can be made with an electronic check or a credit card on GPS.  Payers are advised that payments by credit card are subject to a 2.75% convenience fee. No convenience fees are charged for electronic checks. Payers may also print a copy of the billing statement and mail it with a check payable to “Washington and Lee University.”

The University offers no spaced payment plan of its own. Tuition plans are available for those desiring to spread the expense over the educational period or beyond. As a convenience to parents, Washington and Lee has arranged with Tuition Management Systems Inc., (www.afford.com) of Warwick, Rhode Island, which provides a plan to handle requests for deferred payments. Information about the plan is mailed to parents of all first-year undergraduate students and to first-year law students. Information about the plan is also available in the Financial Aid Office.

Refunds Due to Withdrawal

  1. If a student withdraws before the first day of classes of the fall or winter term, the full amount of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee then paid by or for the account of the student from private resources (as opposed to payments from federal or state or University financial aid programs, including the Guaranteed Student Loan program) will be refunded, less the advance deposit required of each new applicant as a first-year or undergraduate academic transfer ($1,000), or of each Law School new applicant or academic transfer (up to $1,500).
  2. If a student withdraws during the first week of classes of the fall or winter term and gives written notice of withdrawal, the student’s account will be credited with 100% of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee. If a student withdraws during the second week of classes of the fall or winter term and gives written notice of withdrawal, the student’s account will be credited with 80% of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee. If a student withdraws during the third week of classes of the fall or winter term and gives written notice of withdrawal, the student’s account will be credited with 60% of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee. If a student withdraws during the fourth week of classes of the fall or winter term and gives written notice of withdrawal, the student’s account will be credited with 40% of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee. If a student withdraws during the fifth week of classes of the fall or winter term and gives written notice of withdrawal, the student’s account will be credited with 20% of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee. If no financial aid is involved (including Guaranteed Student Loans), the amount of the credit will be refunded, taking into account amounts then paid. If federal or state financial aid is involved, preference will be given to the regulations of the funding agency. Contact the Business Office in such cases to determine the amount, if any, of refund.
  3. If a student withdraws after five weeks of classes in the fall or winter term, either voluntarily or involuntarily, the Comprehensive Tuition Fee is NOT REFUNDABLE.
  4. The Technology, Health Services, and Traveller’s Fees are treated in the same manner as the Comprehensive Tuition Fee in the case of withdrawal.
  5. The Student Activities and Calyx Fees are refundable only if the student withdraws before the first day of classes.
  6. All refunds of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee will be subject to federal regulations regarding institutional refund policies.
  7. See below for information regarding refunds of charges for room and meals.

Room and Meals  

Rooms for First-year Students: All first-year students are required to live in one of the three first-year residence halls: Davis, Gilliam, Gaines, or Graham-Lees. In addition, all sophomores must live in University housing. A resident upper-class counselor, who assists and advises first-year students on academic and social matters, supervises each first-year hall or section. Any exemption from residency requirements must be obtained in advance from the Assistant Dean for First-Year Experience. First-year students are not permitted to room in fraternity/sorority houses.

The rates for rooms in the first-year residence facilities for 2014-15 are $4,750 for double occupancy and $7,200 for single occupancy for the academic year. Contracts for residence facility rooms are for the entire academic year, with rentals payable at the beginning of each 12-week term. Bed linen is not furnished.

Room reservation contracts are sent to accepted applicants when the Admissions Office receives confirmation of their intention to attend Washington and Lee. Individual room assignments are made by the Associate Dean for Residential Life and Conduct in the order in which signed room contracts are received. First-year students who have attended the same secondary school or are from the same hometown are not permitted to room together. All first-years will be notified of their specific room assignments by August 1. Both the advance tuition deposit and a $150 security deposit are payable at the time of confirmation of acceptance. The security deposit, less any charges assessed for damages, is refundable at the end of the lease term.

Rooms for Upper-class Students: The University has both a residence hall (Gaines Hall) and several apartments (Woods Creek) for upper-class students. A variety of suites with combinations of single and double occupancy rooms are available. In addition, several rooms are available in the International House, Chavis House and Outing Club House. Rates for upper-class rooms in all facilities are $4,750 for a double occupancy and $7,200 for a single occupancy for the academic year.

Reservations are for the entire academic year with rentals payable at the beginning of each 12-week term. A $150 security deposit must be submitted with the signed contract. The deposit is refundable, less any charges assessed for damages, at the end of the lease term. Damages caused by vandalism will be billed at the time of occurrence.

Other Accommodations: Students other than those required to live in University housing may find accommodations in private homes in Lexington. There is no University housing for married students. Apartments for married students are available in town.

For further information about on-campus housing, applicants should write to the Associate Dean for Residential Life and Conduct, Washington and Lee University.

Refunds: The University will refund rents paid for University housing, less the security deposit, which will be forfeited, if the student gives written notice two months (60 days) before the start of the room lease period that he or she does not wish to occupy University housing. After that date, rents are NOT REFUNDABLE.

Meals: First-year students are required to take a full board plan for the academic year. The cost is $ 5,895 for the 2014-2015 year.

Upper-class and law students may choose from other flexible meal plan options. Details of the plans are available from the Auxiliary Services Office located in the Early-Fielding Center, Room 110. Students also have the option of depositing money directly in their debit accounts for use in any of the four campus dining locations. Students may sign up for any of the meal plans in Auxiliary Services, campus dining locations, or online at go.wlu.edu/mealplans.

Students who have paid for the full-meal plan and have given written notice of withdrawal or who are absent for approved off-campus study (for example, spring term abroad) will receive a pro rata refund of the cost of the plan.


The University may withhold transcripts, withhold the issuance of a diploma to graduating students, or drop a student from the official rolls. In addition, late-pay charges may be levied on past-due amounts and registration or matriculation denied for an upcoming academic term or year. Returning students with unpaid financial obligations will not be allowed to matriculate until all financial obligations are satisfied. Students with records of late payments may be denied permission to enroll for subsequent terms or semesters, and may have their class schedules withheld, until they pay in full in advance for subsequent terms or semesters. Requests for transcripts from former students will not be honored until all amounts owed the University are paid, including University and National Direct Student Loan (NDSL)/Perkins payments in accordance with the terms of loan agreements.

University Card  

All new students receive a University Card during Orientation. This multifunctional card serves purposes such as access to residence halls and book checkout in the libraries. It also acts as cash for many University services, including University Store, food services, copying and laundry facilities. This is done through the combination of debits and charges to the student’s accounts. A student can charge debits or University Store purchases to his or her account that will be sent home on the student bill. A parent who wishes to place a limit on this account or needs additional information regarding the card should contact the Business Office.

Summary of Expenses

The expenses for a full academic year in 2014-2015  approximate the following:

Comprehensive Undergraduate

Tuition Fee $ 44,660
Room - Single      7,200
Room - Double      4,750
Board (Dining Hall)      5,895
Books and Supplies      1.800
Personal Expenses      2,022
Student Activities Fee         245
Traveler Fee         162
Technology Fee         300
Health Services Fee         250

The average cost for all necessary expenses mentioned above for the first year approximates $61,310. That figure does not include travel costs or fraternity / sorority membership. Fraternity / sorority charges for first-years in 2013-2014 averaged $1,989 for men and $910 for women. Fraternity / sorority charges for upper-class students averaged $5,921 for men, $2,511 for women, with room and board charges adding approximately $7,615 to 10,193 for men and $8,713 to 10,963 for women. Board plans for Live-Out Greek members ranged from $1,958 to 4,080.

Financial Assistance And Scholarships  

University Financial Assistance Policy

Each year the student’s need, eligibility, and academic progress are reviewed to determine the amount and type of University, state, and federal assistance the student will receive in the subsequent academic year. Students should assume that their financial assistance will vary from year to year.

Need is evaluated using the College Scholarship Service Profile, student and parent federal tax returns, and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University’s evaluation is not, however, constrained by rigid formula. Each student’s need is carefully and individually determined, and the degree of choice in matters affecting family finances is given careful consideration. It is always presumed that parents, to the best of their ability, are responsible for providing resources for the student’s educational expenses. State and federal financial assistance eligibility is determined by regulation and should not be confused with the determination of need used by Washington and Lee.

Application for Financial Assistance for Returning Students

The various types of financial aid awards offered by the University have differing application requirements.
Washington and Lee University Grant recipients are required to submit both the College Scholarship Service Profile and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Profile filers must also submit complete tax returns for themselves and their parents for the previous tax year. Should it be necessary to file an extension, the IRS Form 4868 should be forwarded to the Financial Aid Office with an explanation of the cause for late filing.

Students who receive only federal assistance— Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, College Work-Study, Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), and/or Pell Grant should complete only the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Profile need not be filed nor should tax returns be submitted unless specifically requested by the Financial Aid Office.

Need-based honors grant and scholarship recipients and recipients of four-year guaranteed grants should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Profile should not be submitted nor should tax returns be submitted unless specifically requested by the Financial Aid Office.

International Student Grant recipients need not reapply to renew their awards.

Application instructions are available online for all current recipients, usually in January, and are also available on request from the Financial Aid Office.

The Profile application may be completed on the Web at www.collegeboard.org. The FAFSA may be completed at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Both the Profile and the FAFSA should be completed using the actual final income tax returns submitted to the IRS.

Application for the Stafford Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is a two-part process. First, in order to establish eligibility for the loan(s), the FAFSA is completed by the student/parent(s). Second, the Financial Aid Office will provide notification and instructions to each eligible borrower on how to complete the application process.

Virginia students are responsible for filing the separate Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) Application Form through the Financial Aid Office. Applications are mailed by the Financial Aid Office to all entering first-year students with Virginia addresses in the spring prior to enrollment and must be returned prior to the last week of May. Students not receiving the application are responsible for contacting the Financial Aid Office to obtain the application. Late applications will be accepted, but late applicants risk reduction in grant assistance. Upper-class students who establish Virginia domicile should be particularly careful to obtain and submit the application in a timely fashion.

Upper-class students who have not previously received University funds may apply for assistance using the Profile/FAFSA applications. New applications for grant and scholarship assistance will be given full consideration by the Financial Aid Office if the complete financial aid application is received by the June 1st deadline.

A change in family financial circumstances may change the student’s need for assistance. Most often this is caused by a sibling entering or leaving college, but also it may be the result of family financial trauma caused by unforeseen circumstances, such as parental divorce or separation, loss of employment, serious illness, or business failure. Parents of students who experience serious financial distress are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office at the earliest sign of difficulty at any point in the year so that appropriate action may be taken by the Financial Aid Office.

Transfer students may qualify for assistance, but they will generally receive University funds only after entering and returning student need has been met, and if funding is still available.

Verification Requirements

The United States Department of Education may require verification of application information by recipients of Title IV federal assistance: Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, some state grants, Stafford Student Loan, Perkins Loan, and College Work-Study. In cases where federal verification is required, the Financial Aid Office will notify financial aid applicants and request appropriate documentation.

Verification may entail correction of applications, adjustment in award amounts, and in some cases, delay in the processing of applications or the disbursement of funds. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, verification documentation should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office within thirty days of notification.

Determination of Need for Assistance

Need for assistance is the difference between available family financial resources and the cost of education. Educational costs include tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, a personal expense allowance, and a travel allowance.

The following basic factors are considered in evaluating parental financial resources for education: taxed and untaxed income, state and federal taxes, an allowance for the family’s living costs, family size and number in college, number of working parents, and net assets. Other factors are often included to yield the clearest picture of family financial strength. The voluntary or involuntary nature of these other factors is of major importance. For example, loss of income due to voluntary early retirement prior to age 65 may not be given consideration, while the impact of involuntary unemployment will almost always be a key factor in evaluation of parental resources. Other factors such as tax sheltered income from rental property, farm, or business may also be included. However, no consideration is given for siblings beyond a fourth year of undergraduate study or for graduate education.

It is presumed that parents, to the best of their ability, are responsible for providing resources for the student’s educational expenses. Divorce or separation agreements do not govern the analysis of a parent’s available resources, nor does divorce or separation absolve a parent from responsibility to contribute to the student’s education.

Need may well vary from year to year. Need may increase as educational costs rise and parental income does not, or, on the other hand, a significant increase in parental income or assets will decrease need. Parental resources are assumed to be divided among their children in college; hence, the greatest change in the student’s need often occurs as other dependent children enter or leave college. In general, it should be expected that the financial aid award will change through the four undergraduate years.

Parents and students who wish to discuss their individual determination of need or financial circumstances are invited to do so at any time with the Director of Financial Aid.

The Financial Assistance Package

Grants and Scholarships

Grant and scholarship assistance may be provided by a variety of sources: federal, state, and the University. Grants are gift assistance and need not be repaid. Grants may be provided based on need, merit, or a combination of need and merit.

Washington and Lee University Grants usually have their basis in need or a combination of need and merit. They are funded by specific scholarships listed in the University catalog or from general scholarship endowment.

International Student Grants are need based and are awarded to international students from the University’s scholarship endowment.

Pell Grants are federal awards to students deemed especially needy according to federal eligibility criteria.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are federally funded and awarded to eligible Pell Grant recipients by the Washington and Lee Financial Aid Office. The Supplemental Grant often replaces a portion of University Grant or Scholarship.

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) provides awards to state residents enrolled in private Virginia colleges. Grants are made without regard to need; however, Virginia residency requirements for the grant must be met. Recipients must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits per term to qualify. Funding for the Virginia Grant is provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia and, in questions of eligibility, the State Council of Higher Education will make final determinations.

All grants from state and federal sources will reduce the amount of Washington and Lee’s need based grant or scholarship on a dollar-for-dollar basis.


The primary sources of loans to students are the Federal Perkins Loan program and the Federal Stafford Loan program. Loan amount eligibility is governed by federal maximums, by the applicant’s need and by other assistance offered to the student. No interest accrues on either loan while the student is enrolled.

Students who do not qualify for need-based loan assistance may be eligible to borrow under the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan borrower is responsible for interest payments while in school. The student may opt not to pay interest in school, in which case accrued interest is capitalized.

Loans to parents are available through the PLUS Loan program. Parent loans are not based on need; hence, they are available to most parents who are creditworthy. Loans must be repaid within 10 years, and repayment begins within two months from disbursement of loan proceeds.

Non-federal education loans from private lending agencies are an alternative source of funding for either the parent or student borrower. Eligibility for these loans is usually based on the cost of attendance, as determined by the school, less any other financial aid received. Approval for these loans may be dependent upon creditworthiness, debt-to-income ratio, annual income, or a combination of these factors. The loan application may require school certification by the Financial Aid Office before the loan can be reviewed for approval by the lender. In cases where the loan application does not require school certification and the parent/student is receiving other financial aid, the borrower should contact the Financial Aid Office since adjustment to other aid may be required.

Scholarships, Awards, and Prizes

Johnson Scholarships, renewable for four years, are awarded to matriculating first-year students and are not available to upper-class students regardless of academic achievement. A limited number of other scholarships for excellence in specific areas of achievement are awarded to outstanding upper-class students by faculty committees or academic departments. Students are either selected for these awards or invited to apply for them. Examples are the Lane Scholarship for an outstanding journalism major, the L.K. Johnson Scholarships for outstanding business administration/accounting majors, the Campbell and Wilkinson Awards to English majors, and the Brower Scholarship for an outstanding premedical student. In addition, other awards and prizes are given at graduation exercises for excellence in specific areas of study. Most of these awards range in dollar value from approximately $100 to $3,000. In cases where a student receives one of the University’s competitive scholarships or prizes, it may be necessary to reduce other assistance so that the student’s financial aid resources do not exceed the standard full cost of attendance.

Federal College Work-Study and Washington and Lee Work-Study

Work-study students may work in various locations on campus including the Leyburn Library, administrative offices, academic department, laboratories, and many other areas. Students are paid monthly for hours worked. It is assumed that students will need to work no more than 7-8 hours per week to earn the full amount of their work study award.

All student workers must furnish proof of U.S. citizenship status to the Washington and Lee Human Resources Office. Appropriate documentation includes: 1) a valid U.S. passport or 2) a valid driver’s license with photograph and either a certified birth certificate or the original card issued by the Social Security Administration. Note that original documents are required, and the requirement is not for simply one of the above but for multiple documents, unless a valid passport is presented. 

Academic Requirements for University Assistance

Academic requirements for University scholarship and grant assistance differ significantly from the academic requirements governing federal need-based grant and loan assistance.

Students receiving need-based University grants or scholarships and also recipients of miscellaneous awards, such as the Rockbridge County Grant and Associated Colleges of the South Tuition Exchange, must maintain a cumulative 2.000 grade-point average. In addition, term grade-point averages may not fall below 2.000 in any two of three consecutive terms. University grant and scholarship support is available for a maximum of eight fall or winter terms.

Recipients of University merit-based grants and scholarships and also those grants and scholarships based on a combination of need and merit must maintain a 3.300 cumulative grade-point average. Term grade-point averages may not fall below 3.300 in any two of three consecutive terms.

Failure to meet academic standards will jeopardize the recipient’s grant or scholarship. The University Financial Aid Committee will review academic deficiencies of recipients of need-based grants and scholarships, and students receiving awards based purely on merit.

The Financial Aid Committee will usually employ the following procedure in acting on academic deficiencies of grant and scholarship recipients. If a recipient falls below the minimum required cumulative grade-point average, a warning will be sent to the student. Failure to achieve the required grade-point average at the end of the next grading period may mean forfeiture of all or part of the recipient’s grant or scholarship. A student failing to achieve the required grade-point average in two of three consecutive terms will also be warned and may forfeit grant or scholarship, if the required standard is not met by the end of the next grading period.

Students forfeiting grant or scholarship may appeal the Committee decision. Written request should be addressed to the University Financial Aid Committee and forwarded to the Director of Financial Aid. Only serious mitigating circumstances, such as illness, will be considered by the committee.

Grant and scholarship recipients who have forfeited University funding may petition for reinstatement of grant or scholarship upon achieving the required academic standard.

Need-based recipients who do not achieve a 2.000 cumulative grade point average at the end of the spring term will not be eligible for increased grant assistance for the subsequent academic year.

Upper-class students who have not previously qualified for need-based award must also have a 2.000 cumulative grade-point average at the end of the spring term in order to be eligible for need-based grant or scholarship for the subsequent year.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Title IV Assistance

Requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that Washington and Lee University review the academic progress of all students who seek to continue eligibility for federal Title IV financial assistance. Title IV assistance includes the following programs: Pell Grant, SEOG, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work Study. Students meeting University academic requirements will not necessarily also meet federal financial aid requirements. Satisfactory academic progress, as defined by federal regulation, is determined by reviewing three specific areas of the student’s academic record. A student must complete their degree within a maximum time frame measured by attempted credits equal to 150 percent of the number of credits required for their primary degree program, demonstrate they are making progress towards the completion of their degree by earning a minimum number of credits hours each semester, and achieve a cumulative GPA that is consistent with meeting graduation requirements.

Progress Review

Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed in January and in June once grades for the previous academic term have been posted. Students who fail to meet the federal requirements as detailed below, are considered to be making unsatisfactory academic progress and will be placed on “Financial Aid Warning” for one term. A student on “Financial Aid Warning” will be allowed to continue receiving federal assistance for a maximum of one term.

If a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements by the end of the warning term then the student will forfeit eligibility for all federal assistance. Students who have lost eligibility for receiving financial assistance can reestablish eligibility by successfully completing the required number of credit hours, and by attaining the overall required grade point average by the end of the next term. Withdrawal from courses, repetition of courses, incomplete courses, and transfer courses may have an effect on the student GPA, total credits attempted, and number of terms completed. Credit and GPA evaluation will be governed by University academic regulations.

Maximum Time Frame for Completion of Program

Continued eligibility for federal Title IV assistance requires that a student complete his/her degree within 150% of the published credit hour requirements for their program. The maximum time frame for undergraduate students attending Washington and Lee is 169 credits, 150% of the required 113 credits for degree completion.

Maximum attempted credits towards completion of the degree program: 169. Any undergraduate student exceeding the maximum number of attempted credits will no longer be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress for federal assistance.  

Required Completion Rate

Continued eligibility for federal Title IV assistance requires that a student make satisfactory progress towards his/her degree by maintaining a completion rate of 67% for the total number of credit hours attempted. The completion rate is based upon the specified maximum time frame for completion of the program. Satisfactory progress may be established or eligibility continued by maintaining a 67% completion rate for all credits attempted. Attempted credits and credits earned are evaluated at the end of each academic term. Number of Credits Earned (divided by) Number of Credits Attempted = Completion Rate

 Minimum Completion Rate of completed credits to attempted credits: 67%
The completion rate is calculated and evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress in January and in June after the grades for the previous academic term have been posted. 
Any Undergraduate student failing to maintain at least a 67% completion rate at the time of SAP evaluation will no longer be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress for federal assistance.

Required Grade Point Average

Continued eligibility for federal Title IV assistance requires that at the end of each academic term a student achieve the minimum cumulative grade point average, or an academic standard consistent with the university’s graduation requirements. All students must achieve the required 2.0 cumulative grade point average based upon credits attempted while attending W&L.

Cumulative GPA requirement for all undergraduate students: 2.000
The cumulative GPA is calculated and evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress in January and in June after the grades for the previous academic term have been posted.   
Any Undergraduate student failing to meet the cumulative GPA requirement the time of SAP evaluation will no longer be eligible for Federal Assistance.

Attempted/Earned Credit Hours and Cumulative GPA

Attempted Credit Hours

  • All credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the end of the official drop/add period regardless of whether the student subsequently withdrew or failed
  • All incomplete credits
  • Transfer credits from another school that are accepted by W&L
  • Credits earned through examination
  • Repeated courses are counted as credits for each course taken

Earned Credits Hours

  • All credits completed with grades of ‘D’ or better as well as Satisfactory and Pass grades
  • Transfer credits from another school that are accepted by W&L
  • Credits earned through examination
  • Repeated courses are counted only one time as earned credits.

Credit hours used in the evaluation of GPA

  • Grades received for all completed coursework will be included in GPA calculation
  • Both grades for repeated courses will be included in GPA calculation
  • Incomplete coursework will not be included in the GPA calculation
  • Grades transferred from another school will not be included in the GPA calculation
  • Courses from which a student withdraws will not be included in the GPA calculation

Notification and Appeal

Written notice will be provided to all students who have become ineligible for federal Title IV financial aid due to a failure to achieve the required academic progress. Students denied federal assistance may submit an appeal to the Office of Financial Aid and detail the circumstances that prevented the student from making satisfactory progress. All appeals will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid and the Financial Aid Committee. Appeals should include an explanation of the serious mitigating circumstances that prevented satisfactory progress, and detail how factors have changed that will now allow the student to reach the SAP requirement at the next evaluation. Only very serious mitigating circumstances, such as death in the immediate family or serious illness will constitute grounds for waiver of academic progress standards.

Federal regulations prevent a student from submitting an appeal two semesters in a row. However, there is no limit to the number of appeals a student may submit if they can document new circumstances preventing the student from making SAP.

If a student does not appeal, or if the appeal for reconsideration is denied, the student will not be eligible for federal title IV aid for one term. At the end of that term the student’s progress will be re-evaluated and aid reinstated if academic progress falls within the requirements.

Title IV Probation

If the student appeal is accepted, the student will be placed on Title IV aid probation and remain eligible for federal Title IV aid for a period of one term. At the end of that term the student’s progress will be re-evaluated and aid reinstated if progress is within the federal requirements, or if the student is successfully following an academic plan as determined by the University. If not, the student will be ineligible for further federal Title IV assistance until the requirements have been achieved.

Disbursement of Financial Assistance Funds: Grants, Scholarships, Loans, and Tuition Billing

Grants and Loans

Financial assistance is usually disbursed in two equal parts, one for the fall term and one for the winter term, to coincide with the University tuition billing cycle. No disbursement or billing is made for the spring term, except for assistance special to the spring term off-campus courses.

Financial assistance listed as pending on the student’s tuition bill may be deducted from remittance due the University. All financial assistance will be applied first to the unpaid balance of the student’s tuition account. If all charges on the tuition bill are satisfied and a surplus or credit balance exists, the student may either request that the excess be left on account or request a credit balance refund from the University Business Office. Disbursement of a credit balance will not be made prior to the first day of class for each term..

College Work-Study and Washington and Lee Work-Study

Payment for both the College Work-Study and the Washington and Lee Work-Study Program is made monthly to the student for hours worked. Students are paid by check or direct deposit through the University Business Office.

Third-Party Scholarships

Confirmed scholarship disbursements from sources other than the University may be deducted from remittances on student tuition accounts, if the scholarship proceeds will be forwarded directly to the University by the due date of the billing statement. Students are reminded that the Financial Aid Office must be informed of scholarships received from other than University sources.

Withdrawal from the University

Policy on the Return of Federal Title IV Program Funds

Financial assistance recipients who withdraw from the University are subject to University and federal refund policy. Refunded amounts will be prorated in accordance with charges paid by financial aid funds and returned to the appropriate financial aid programs. If a cash disbursement of financial aid funds has been made to the student, the Financial Aid Office will calculate what portion of the cash disbursement, if any, must be returned to financial aid programs. Students who are withdrawing from the University should contact the Financial Aid Office for assessment of their refund/repayment status.

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Return of Federal Title IV Program Funds formula:

Percentage of payment period or term completed equals the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = 100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a return of funds is required
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)

Students contemplating withdrawal from the University should consult with the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawal for an assessment of their refund/repayment status.

Study Abroad and Financial Assistance

Students may almost always rely on the availability of financial assistance—grants, scholarships, and loans—for study abroad. However, as expenses for study abroad will rarely be the same as Washington and Lee’s corresponding expenses, students should assume some adjustment will be made to accommodate a different cost of education.

Grants and scholarships will not exceed the level provided for study on campus and, in circumstances where program costs are less, grants and scholarships will be less than the level provided on campus. In cases where study abroad expenses are higher than expenses incurred on campus, loan assistance will normally be available to the parent and/or student to accommodate the higher cost.

In order to determine the amount and availability of both federal and institutional funds and to ensure that funding can be delivered in the most timely and convenient manner, students studying abroad should seek guidance from the Financial Aid Office early in their planning.

Washington and Lee University Grants have no direct application to the fees of off-campus programs arranged under the spring term umbrella. Assistance for these programs is offered after separate evaluation of the student’s need.

Neither federal nor University funds are provided for summer study abroad programs.

Other Considerations Regarding Financial Assistance

Email is the quickest and surest means for the Financial Aid Office to contact students. Hence, students are responsible for monitoring their W&L e-mail account for all messages with the subject, “Washington and Lee Financial Aid.” In addition, student awards and financial aid application requirements are available on the Financial Aid Status web site. A W&L username and password is required to access this page.

Many University Grants are funded by named, endowed scholarships. Recipients of named scholarships and of University Grants funded by named scholarships will be notified of the donor’s name and address. A letter of thanks to the donor of the scholarship funds is deeply appreciated.

Students returning to the University from an approved leave of absence will be eligible to receive financial assistance upon their return to the University.

Financial aid recipients are required to report to the Financial Aid Office any scholarships which they receive from non-University sources. Non-University scholarships will usually require adjustment of the student’s need-based financial assistance. One-half of the scholarship amount will replace University Grant or Scholarship. In certain circumstances, type and/or amount of student loan may also be revised. Federal financial assistance regulations govern this policy.

It is presumed that information contained in the student’s financial aid applications and on any supporting documentation, including tax returns, may be discussed, as necessary, with the student. Parents should inform the Director of Financial Aid if such information may not be disclosed to the student. Noncustodial parent information will be held in strict confidence and will not be discussed or released to the student or the custodial parent without permission.

Financial assistance awards are based on family financial circumstances; hence, students are responsible for informing the Financial Aid Office of substantial changes in family income, assets, and household size, or the number of siblings in college. Unusual circumstances or emergency situations outside of the family’s control, such as divorce, unemployment, serious illness, or death, may be brought to the attention of the Director of Financial Aid at any time. If possible, appropriate adjustments will be made to the student’s financial assistance to make allowance for significant changes in family financial circumstances.

As grant or scholarship assistance may be considered taxable income in certain circumstances by the Internal Revenue Service, recipients may wish to review the federal tax rules for scholarships and grants with their tax preparers.