The Johnson Scholarship

The Johnson Scholarship is one of the premier merit-based scholarship programs in the country.

W&L's Johnson Scholarship recognizes and rewards students on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and integrity, and their potential to contribute to the intellectual and civic life of the W&L campus and the world at large in years to come.

Scholarships are awarded to up to 44 incoming students each year (roughly 10% of the first-year class).

Johnson Scholarships cover tuition and fees, housing and food, and $10,000 in funding for a summer experience — a grand total of more than $83,000 per year. Students with additional financial need may also see their scholarship amount increased to cover additional costs of attendance, which may include textbooks and supplies, travel expenses, and technology costs.

Finalists for Johnson Scholarships participate in an on-campus competition and are notified in late March of their status. All costs associated with attending the competition will be paid by Washington and Lee University.

Did you Know?

Applying for a Johnson Scholarship ensures that you're considered for other merit scholarships, too.

View 2023-24 Scholarships

Johnson Scholarship FAQs

The deadline to apply for the Johnson Scholarship is Dec. 1. Note that Washington and Lee University offers Early Decision I (Nov. 1), Early Decision II (Jan. 1) and Regular Decision (Jan. 1) admissions programs. We must receive your Johnson Scholarship application by Dec. 1, but you may choose to apply under any of the application decision programs.

Applying for the Johnson Scholarship requires submission of a complete Common Application and the W&L Johnson Scholarship supplement, which consists of a second personal essay.

The scholarship is awarded on the basis of merit, and merit takes many forms at W&L. Your academic record is important, as are demonstrations of your leadership and integrity, as represented in your extracurricular engagements, personal statements, and letters of recommendation.

We will review your complete Common Application, including your transcript, letters of recommendation, test scores (if supplied), and your personal essay, plus your supplemental Johnson Scholarship application, including an additional personal statement. Our application review is comprehensive and seeks to find students to invite as finalists who strive to be leaders in the many communities they inhabit.

Finalists for the Johnson Scholarship will be notified in early February and invited to campus for the scholarship selection competition. Scholarship winners will be notified in mid-March with full details about the scholarship award.

The word 'competition' sounds scary, but the scholarship competition event is not. This is a chance for you to experience W&L up close by rooming with a current Johnson Scholar, attending classes, and interviewing with faculty, staff and current students. We frequently hear from students that the scholarship competition was their first introduction to the collaborative and supportive community that is Washington and Lee, and that the connections they made during the event were deciding factors in where they ultimately chose to attend.

Many students will use their $10,000 enhancement funds to pay for the costs associated with a study abroad program or to pay for living expenses while volunteering or interning over the summer. Enhancement funds can even be used to fund one or more Spring Term Abroad programs available during W&L's distinctive 4-week May semester.

More than a Scholarship

The Johnson Scholarship is just one aspect of W&L's Johnson Program for Leadership and Integrity, a program that offers opportunities and funding for the entire student body.

Full Scholarship

The Johnson Scholarship

Up to 44 students a year receive awards of at least tuition, room and board as Johnson Scholars. Students are selected on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and their potential to contribute to the intellectual and civic life of the W&L campus and of the world at large in years to come.

Money to Explore

Summer Enhancement Funds

Every recipient of the Johnson Scholar receives an additional $10,000 to support summer experiences traveling, volunteering, interning, or conducting research. Enhancement funds are designed to provide invaluable hands-on experiences and can be used for transportation, living expenses, equipment, and more.

Experience Funding

Opportunity Grants

The Johnson Program provides funds of up to $6,000 to support student projects across the country and around the world. Johnson Opportunity Grants are competitive and open to any rising junior or senior. Recent projects have involved the creation of a documentary about travel on the TransAmerica trail, interning at the British House of Commons, and conducting research at the Children's National Hospital’s Department of Genetic Medicine.


Endowed Faculty Chairs

In addition to providing scholarships and opportunity funding for students, the Johnson Program supports two full-time faculty positions, one in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics and one in The College.

500+ Strong

Alumni Network

The first class of Johnson Scholars graduated from W&L in 2012. Over ten years later, more than 500 Johnson Scholars have joined the Washington and Lee alumni network in fields as wide-ranging as their passions, and they are always eager to help fellow scholars navigate their own career paths.


International Recognition

Johnson Scholars go on to do incredible things. Three recent scholars have won Rhodes Scholarships. W&L is the ONLY liberal arts school to have had more than one Rhodes recipient over the past 10 years, and all three of ours have used the opportunities provided by the Johnson Scholarship Program to build resumes worthy of such an honor. A Forbes "40 Under 40" recipient, numerous Fulbright and Goldwater fellows, doctors, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and public servants -- a Johnson Scholar can do anything.

About the Scholarship

A premier merit-based scholarship program that covers the full cost of attendance — you can't afford NOT to apply.

Johnson Scholars in the News

Our scholarship winners tackle challenges and continue to earn accolades as students and alumni.

Johnson Scholar & Rhodes Scholarship Winner

Tahri Phillips

Tahrington (Tahri) Phillips '23, a cognitive and behavioral science and English double major, is Washington and Lee University’s 18th Rhodes Scholar. Tahri has also been honored on campus by the Student Affairs Committee for her commitment to personal scholarship and nurturing the intellectual life at W&L. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society and a four-year member of the W&L women's basketball team.

Johnson Scholar

Rafay Hassan

Rafay Hassan '22, from Lahore, Pakistan, was looking for a liberal arts university that would give him individualized attention and put his critical thinking skills to the test. He found that and more at W&L.

Johnson Scholar & Beineke Scholarship Winner

Kathryn Muensterman

Kathryn Muensterman ’22 has won a $34,000 Beinecke Scholarship to help fund her graduate studies. Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately before graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. Muensterman plans to use the scholarship to aid her interest and research in literature, medieval studies and religion.

Johnson Scholar & Goldwater Scholarship Winner

Troy Larsen

Troy Larsen ’22, a math and classics major at Washington and Lee University, has won a highly competitive Goldwater Scholarship, which promotes research careers in science, mathematics and engineering. One of the oldest and most prestigious STEM scholarships in the country, the Goldwater Scholarship aims to identify and support undergraduates who show promise of becoming research leaders in their respective fields and intend to pursue a doctorate degree.

Johnson Scholar & Davis Projects for Peace Winner

James Ricks

James Ricks ’21 has won a Davis Projects for Peace grant for his work with The Oda Foundation, a nonprofit organization co-founded in 2013 by W&L alumnus John Christopher ’09. While abroad, Ricks will work to photograph the region and present the images to be sold to raise money for The Oda Foundation. Headquartered in the district of Kalikot, Oda’s initiatives in health care, education and community support have become critical, lifesaving services in Nepal.