Student Recruiting

Recent Success

  • Undergraduate Admissions: Increased the percentage of domestic students of color 77% in five years, from 13% of the entering Class of 2020 to 23% in the Class of 2025. The percentage of Black students, including multi-racial students who identify as Black, entering the university has risen from 3.4% to 7% over the same period.
  • Law Admissions: Increased the percentage of domestic students of color in the law student body to 23% since 2016. The percentage of Black students has risen from 4.1% to 6%.

Strategies and Tactics

  • Added staff in admissions and financial aid focused on diversity recruiting.
  • Developed three annual Diversity and Inclusion Visit Experiences, underwriting travel costs for participants;
  • Increased number of first-generation and underrepresented students visiting campus;
  • Expanded efforts and embraced new approaches to recruit diverse students to our athletic teams;
  • Expanded admissions counselors’ fall travel to include community-based organization meetings and visits to high schools with college-bound students in diverse neighborhoods;
  • Deployed College Board Landscape to more accurately discern applicant school and neighborhood context.
  • Implemented early application outreach to underrepresented students and parents from admission officers, current students, alumni, faculty and staff;
  • Revised Admissions Ambassador and Alumni Admission Programs to prioritize training, recruit a diverse pool of tour guides and volunteers, and increase understanding of the university’s strategic priorities;
  • Sponsored visits to W&L by college counselors from schools with diverse populations.



Expanded partnership with QuestBridge, a national nonprofit that matches the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities, by 67% since 2018.

American Talent Initiative

Joined the American Talent Initiative to expand college to low- and moderate-income families.

College Greenlight

Partnered with College Greenlight, a free national college and scholarship search tool for first-generation and underrepresented students, their schools and community organizations

Financial Aid

  • Award $49 million in need-based financial aid annually, with an average aid award of $51,000;
  • Meet 100% of demonstrated student need without loans -- one of less than 20 institutions in the country to do so;
  • Established need-based scholarships for students from underrepresented communities, including Chicago and the American Southwest;
  • Ensured that students receiving significant need-based aid have access to funds in advance of fall matriculation to support travel and expenses related to starting school;
  • Established early application review process so that families can discern W&L aid opportunities before applying for early decision admission;
  • Implemented early application outreach to students and parents to explain financial aid process and added meetings with admitted students to review aid awards.

Making Ends Meet

Our mission is to make a W&L education affordable for all admitted students.


Merit Scholarships

The Johnson Scholarship Program awards full tuition, room and board scholarships each year to up to 44 exceptionally qualified students regardless of their family's circumstances. Each Johnson Scholar also receives financial support for summer opportunities such as internships, research and independent projects.
In addition to the Johnson Scholarship, each year W&L offers several additional scholarships for which incoming first-year students may apply.


Our No-Loan Commitment

We award institutional, federal and state grants plus $2,000 in student employment to meet your individually demonstrated need. No loan will be offered to meet any part of your demonstrated need. Federal loans for students and parents may be offered as an option to cover the family's contribution.


Graduate Debt-Free

Our generous grant packages meet the demonstrated need of our aid applicants, and only a fraction of our families choose to take out optional loans to cover the family contribution. Over the past five years, an average of 67 percent of our undergraduate students graduated debt-free.


The W&L Promise

Any admitted undergraduate from a family with income below $150,000 and assets typical for their income will receive a grant equal to or greater than full tuition. Many will receive additional grant assistance to cover room, board, and other educational expenses.

Merit & Need-Based


QuestBridge is an organization that connects the nation's brightest students from low-income backgrounds with leading institutions of higher education.


Veterans and Yellow Ribbon

W&L is a strong supporter of veterans and VA educational programs, including Yellow Ribbon and tuition assistance.
Students interested in participating in the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) may do so through a partnership with neighboring Virginia Military Institute. Two-, three-, and four-year ROTC scholarships may be available. Currently, scholarships cover tuition and fees plus a significant stipend.