2023-2024 University Catalog 
    Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog archived

Admission, Expenses, Financial Aid



Financial Aid





An Invitation

We invite all prospective students and their families to visit Washington and Lee University. The best time 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. Please visit go.wlu.edu/visit for information about planning your visit, including admission office hours and instructions for scheduling an interview.

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 460-470 students from approximately 7,000 applicants. Interested students may apply for admission using the Common Application or the QuestBridge application. The regular-admission application deadline is January 1.

The Committee on Admissions considers each candidate’s secondary school record, course selection, 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. Students’ demonstrated interest in the University may also be taken into consideration.

The University meets the full demonstrated financial need of admitted students with grants and work-study jobs, not loans, 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, world languages, mathematics, history, the social sciences and the natural sciences. Specific requirements are four units in English, three units in mathematics, one unit in natural science (excluding general science) and one unit in history. Three units in world language are strongly recommended (preferably through the senior year).

Standardized Tests: Submission of SAT or ACT scores is optional for applicants for entry in September 2023. Candidates for undergraduate admission who wish to submit SAT or ACT scores may submit self-reported or official results of either the ACT or the SAT. Neither tests’ writing portions are required. In addition, students who are not native speakers of English and for whom English is not the language of instruction in their schools may choose to submit results from the TOEFLIELTS, DuoLingo, or Cambridge English: C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency as additional evidence of their proficiency in English. These exams are not required for international students, so submission of these results is optional. International Students must submit the predicted and final official results of the school-leaving examination appropriate to their home countries or educational systems (A-level, International Baccalaureate, Abitur, baccalaureat, etc.), when they become available.

Students choosing to enroll at Washington and Lee who were admitted on the basis of self-reported SAT or ACT scores must submit official score reports soon after reserving a place in the incoming class. This is a condition of admission to W&L.

Early Decision Plans

Washington and Lee offers two Early Decision options to 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 signing the Common Application Early Decision Commitment, within the W&L section of the Common Application. Submission of the ED Commitment indicates that W&L is the applicant’s first choice and is a commitment to attend Washington and Lee if accepted. An Early Decision candidate is free to make applications to other colleges with the understanding that those applications must 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 or the SAT and have official scores sent to W&L directly from the testing agency (test scores are optional for applicants for entry in September 2023).

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

Applicants not offered admission through the Early Decision plan will either be denied admission or will be deferred. Deferred applicants’ credentials will be re-evaluated under the Regular Decision review. Such candidates should have the current secondary school submit a transcript of first-term grades as soon as possible. A student whose application is deferred is free to apply to other colleges.

The Admissions Committee will deny an Early Decision application 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 complete all materials required for admission and have them forwarded to the Admissions Office by the Regular Decision deadline of January 1. Interested students may apply for admission using the Common Application or the QuestBridge application. Admitted students must successfully complete all of the academic work then being undertaken.

Applications for admission may be submitted any time from August 1 of the senior year until January 1.

Successful applicants are advised of admission 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.

Home-Schooled Students

Washington and Lee welcomes admission applications from home-schooled students. We recognize that each student’s home-schooling experience and application will be different. Applicants should consult go.wlu.edu/home-schooled for information to be submitted in addition to the Common Application or QuestBridge application.

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 last class day of the first fall term. Requests and transcripts received by August 15 will be processed in time for new students’ registration for fall term. 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. First-year students may receive a maximum of 30 credits from any and all non-W&L sources (e.g., AP, IB, college courses while in high school).

Transfer Students

Applicants who have graduated from high school and are enrolled full-time at another college or university are considered to be transfer applicants. Transfer students may enroll only in September each year and are required to complete at least two years of full-time study at W&L prior to being eligible for a degree.

The priority deadline for transfer applications is March 1, and the final deadline is May 15. Students seeking admission as transfers should apply online using the Washington and Lee University Application for Transfer Admission, available at access.wlu.edu/apply. 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 or the SAT (this is optional for students applying for entry in September 2023). 

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 comparable 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 need-based financial assistance.

International students applying for admission must complete the regular admissions application, including the standardized test requirements set forth in the Requirements for Admission. International students must submit the predicted and final official results of the school-leaving examination appropriate to their home countries or educational systems (A-level, International Baccalaureate, Abitur, baccalaureat, etc.), when they become available.

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.

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.

Continuing Education Students

Regular full-time or part-time, benefit-eligible employees, their spouses, or their domestic partners are eligible to take up to two Washington and Lee courses per term without any tuition charge, under certain conditions. Additional fees such as lab or applied music fees are not included. Employees are not eligible for spring term courses under this program; spouses/domestic partners are eligible for spring term courses. See the Human Resources website for policy and application

Special Non-Degree Students

Individuals who are employed at Washington and Lee as a world-language teaching assistant and who are simultaneously enrolled in at least six credits during the fall or winter term or three credits during the spring term, are considered by the University to be special non-degree students maintaining a full course of study. The only other non-degree students are enrolled under exchange agreements or the John M. Gunn International Scholarship or as Continuing Education students.


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 2023-2024 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 $63,315 a year, payable $31,657.50 in mid-August before the beginning of the 13-week fall term in September, and in mid-December before the beginning of the winter term in January. 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 13-week terms in the same academic year and their tuition and fees for those terms have been satisfied. In addition to instruction, the Comprehensive Tuition Fee covers the use of most laboratories, the library, recreation facilities and equipment, intercollegiate athletics (with free admission to home intercollegiate contests) and concerts by university music groups, and subsidizes admission to presentations of university theater and dance groups and Lenfest Center events.

  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 $310 is required of each student, payable $145 each 13-week term. These funds are administered by the Student Body Executive Committee to provide financial support for campus publications, programs of the General Activities Board, and other student body activities.

  4. A Traveller Fee of $330 is required of each student, payable $150 each 13-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 $320 is required of each student, payable $160 each 13-week term. In addition, a $250 Health Services Fee is also required of each student, payable $125 each 13-week term. These fees ensure that these student services can be maintained at their current levels.

  6. A Calyx Fee of $65 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, non-degree students for 2023-2024 will be $2,261 per credit hour.

  8. A fee of $60 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 undergraduate first-year student or undergraduate academic transfer on acceptance for admission. Of this payment, $850 is credited toward regular fees of the first term. The remaining $150 is held as a housing deposit.

    A non-returnable reservation deposit of $1,000 (an initial deposit of $500, final deposit of $500) is also required 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 $53,120 for the J.D. degree for the 2023-2024 academic year, payable $26,560 in mid-August before the beginning of the fall semester and in mid-December before the beginning of the spring semester. A Student Bar Association Fee of $220 is required of each student, payable $110 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. A Study Abroad Fee is required for each semester a student receives credit for study abroad. The fee is $1,500 for each fall or winter term abroad. The funds from this fee are used by the University for administrative services of the University 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 university’s electronic payment system, which allows students and parents/guardians to view bills and make payments online. It is the responsibility of the student to review the online payment system at the time of receiving their notification. Along with tuition and fees, there may be miscellaneous charges from the previous month posted and should be paid. The initial billing for the first undergraduate 13-week term is released around July 15. Billing for the second undergraduate 13-week term is released around November 15. It is also the responsibility of the student to establish parents/guardians as users on the online payment system. As authorized users, parents/guardians will also receive email notifications of billing statements and will have the ability to log on to the online payment system to view bills and make payments. The University does not mail paper billing statements. Additional information is available at go.wlu.edu/GPS.

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

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

Billing 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/debit card on the online payment system. Payers are advised that payments by credit/debit card are subject to a convenience fee that will vary, depending on the card used. 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 installment payment plan of its own. Tuition plans are available for those desiring to spread the expense over the educational period. As a convenience to parents, Washington and Lee has arranged with Nelnet Campus Commerce, of Lincoln, Nebraska, which provides a plan to handle requests for deferred payments. Information about the plan may be accessed by students via go.wlu.edu/paymentplan. All others access the payment plan information at mycollegepaymentplan.com/wlu. Information about the plan is also available in the Financial Aid Office.

Refunds Due to Withdrawal and Approved Leaves of Absence

  1. If a student leaves the University officially 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 $1,000).
  2. If a student leaves the University officially after a term begins and gives written notice, the refund percentages are as follows for the Comprehensive Tuition Fee.
During Week of Term Percentage of credit
First week 100%
Second week 80%
Third week 60%
Fourth week 40%
Fifth week 20%
After fifth week not applicable

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.

  1. If a student leaves the University officially after five weeks of classes in the fall or winter term, either voluntarily or involuntarily, the Comprehensive Tuition Fee is NOT REFUNDABLE.
  2. The Technology, Health Services, and Traveller Fees are treated in the same manner as the Comprehensive Tuition Fee in the case of withdrawal or approved leave of absence.
  3. The Student Activities and Calyx Fees are refundable only if the student leaves the University officially before the first day of classes.
  4. All refunds of the Comprehensive Tuition Fee will be subject to federal regulations regarding institutional refund policies.
  5. 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 two first-year residence halls, Gaines or Graham-Lees. In addition, all sophomores and juniors must live in University housing. A resident upper-division 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 Associate Dean of Students and 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 2022-2023 are $8,945 for the academic year. Contracts for residence facility rooms are for the entire academic year, with rentals payable in mid-August before the beginning of the 13-week fall term in September, and in mid-December before the beginning of the winter term in January. 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 of Students and Dean for First-Year Experience 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 after graduation.

Rooms for Upper-Division Students: The University has apartments, townhouses, and theme housing available for upper-division students. Singles, doubles, and up to four-person occupancies are available. Rates for upper-division rooms in all facilities are $9,230 for the academic year.

Reservations are for the entire academic year with rentals payable in mid-August before the beginning of the 13-week fall term in September, and in mid-December before the beginning of the winter term in January. Damages caused by vandalism will be billed at the time of occurrence.

For further information about on-campus housing, applicants should write to the Director of Residence Life, Washington and Lee University.

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.

Housing Refunds: No refunds will be made to students who leave the University or who vacate the rented premises. The University will refund rents paid for University housing, less the security deposit ($150), if the student is a senior and gives written notice before June 1, 2023, that they do not wish to occupy University housing for the upcoming academic year. After that time, rents are NOT REFUNDABLE. Students who have executed a housing agreement but have not paid the required fees will be billed for payment in accordance with the terms of the housing agreement. Security deposits are refundable after graduation less any charges assessed for damages. Refunds will be sent via U.S. mail or through ACH deposit to a previously supplied bank account. When a student leaves the University due to withdrawal or suspension, the security deposit is forfeited.

Meals: First-year students are required to take a full board plan for the academic year. The cost is $8,455 for the 2023-2024 year.

First- and second-year law students are required to take a $1,000 Law Meal Plan for the academic year.

Upper-division and third-year law students may choose from other flexible meal plan options. Details of the plans are available from the Dining Services web site at go.wlu.edu/mealplans.

Students with meal plans have the option of depositing money directly in their debit accounts for use in any of the six campus dining locations. Review balances and add additional funds by going to go.wlu.edu/ecard.

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. More information on refunds may be found at go.wlu.edu/mealplans.


In addition to late payment charges being levied on past-due amounts and registration or matriculation denied for an upcoming academic term or year, the University may also withhold transcripts, withhold the issuance of a diploma to graduating students, or drop a student from the official rolls. 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.

By federal law, students for whom the Veteran’s Administration has not yet paid tuition and fees for their veteran’s benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services (Chapter 31) are not subject to the university’s usual holds, restrictions, or late fees for such monies.

After graduation or withdrawal, any student accounts that have an unpaid balance may be turned over to a collection agency. The student will be responsible for all attorneys’ fees and other reasonable costs of collection of any unpaid balances, in accordance with applicable law.

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, and copying. This is done through the combination of debits and charges to the student’s accounts. Students can charge debits or University Store purchases to their accounts that also may be sent to authorized payers, such as a parent. An authorized payer who wishes to place a limit on this account or needs additional information regarding the card should contact the Business Office.

Review balances and add additional funds by going to go.wlu.edu/ecard.

Summary of Expenses

The approximate expenses for a full academic year in 2023-2024 are as follows:

Comprehensive Undergraduate

Tuition Fee $ 63,315
Housing      9,230
Food (Dining Hall)      8,455
Books and Supplies      2,290
Personal Expenses      2,500
Student Activities Fee         310
Traveller Fee         330
Technology Fee         320
Health Services Fee         250

The average cost for all necessary expenses mentioned above for the first year approximates $87,000.

That figure does not include travel costs or fraternity / sorority membership. Charges for first-years in 2021-2022 averaged $1,385 for fraternities and $370 for sororities. Fraternity / sorority charges for upper-division students averaged $5,000 for fraternities and $1,240 for sororities, with housing and food charges adding approximately $3,400 to $12,500 for fraternities and $3,145 to $15,840 for sororities. The food plan for Live-Out sorority members was $3,350 for the year.

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.

Eligibility for university need-based aid is determined 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 from the prior 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-division students who establish Virginia domicile should be particularly careful to obtain and submit the application in a timely fashion.

Upper-division 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, housing and food, 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 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 source of loans to students is 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. Students with need may qualify for the Federal Subsidized Stafford loan. No interest accrues on this 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-division students regardless of academic achievement. A limited number of other scholarships for excellence in specific areas of achievement are awarded to outstanding upper-division 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. 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. 

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. 

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.

Upper-division 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 180 credits, 150% of the required 120 credits for degree completion.

Maximum attempted credits towards completion of the degree program: 180. 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 2.000 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.

Determination of 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-minus’ 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 biweekly 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 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 a 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, 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.