Scholarships & Financial Aid

Danforth Scholars Program

The Danforth Scholars Program honors the student who embraces high ideals, whose life choices are guided by personal integrity, selflessness, a commitment to community, and a dedication to leadership and academic excellence.

Named in honor of William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth, the former Chancellor and First Lady of Washington University from 1971 to 1995, the program is a tribute to their exemplary leadership and service. The program is funded by friends of the Danforths.

Since the program's inception, more than 30,000 students have been nominated and from that group, approximately 480 have been named as Danforth finalists. These finalists have been selected from schools across the United States and around the world.​

The Scholarship

Danforth Scholars may receive full- or partial-tuition scholarships. The scholarship is renewed each year for the duration of the degree program, provided the scholar progresses academically and upholds the high standards of character required of scholars.

The Program is open to prospective graduate or undergraduate students applying to Washington University. Undergraduates must be nominated to receive consideration. All students admitted to graduate study at Washington University will be automatically considered for a graduate Danforth Scholarship. This is a merit-based program, but need will be considered as part of the award process.

Nomination and Selection for the Undergraduate Program

The Danforth Scholars Selection Committee, composed of university faculty and friends, will consider all nominations individually and in detail. To be considered for this prestigious award, a student must be nominated by an individual who has substantive knowledge of the student's accomplishments and goals. In addition to outstanding academic performance, the committee in interested in activities that illustrate the candidate's exceptional commitment to community service, high moral character, and similar qualities that exemplify the Danforths' legacy at Washington University. The selection committee finds it helpful to learn of specific examples of leadership, academic, and personal achievements that set this student apart from his or her peers.

Each summer a call for nominations goes out to high school guidance counselors. Nominations are due by October 15, 2014.

Upon the committee's receipt of the nomination, the student will be invited to apply to the Danforth Scholars Program. Up to 40 applicants will be selected as finalists and will be invited to campus for a required interview weekend. As many as four full-tuition and a number of partial-tuition scholarships will be awarded.

Once here, students selected as Danforth Scholars are expected to participate in program activities and to inspire others with their dedication to community and academic life.

Application Process for the Undergraduate Program

When a student has been nominated, the committee will notify the student and provide the application.

To be considered for the scholarship, the student must return the application, short answers, essay, and transcript to the committee by January 15, 2015. The student also must submit the application for undergraduate admission to the Class of 2019, including essay, recommendations, and SAT or ACT scores by January 15, 2015. Students whose primary language is not English must submit TOEFL scores by the same date.


William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth

As the former Chancellor and First Lady of Washington University, the Danforths inspired countless others with their values, character, and commitment.

Dr. Danforth spent twenty years at the university as a medical resident, faculty member, and, eventually, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs. He began serving the university as its thirteenth Chancellor in 1971. When he retired twenty-four years later, he was credited with leading the effort that molded the University into one of the nation’s finest teaching and research institutions. Following his retirement as Chancellor, Dr. Danforth served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for four years and now is the University’s Chancellor Emeritus.

Dr. Danforth and the late Mrs. Danforth devoted countless hours to building the university and maintaining ties with its students and alumni. But their reach has extended well beyond the University. Dr. Danforth continues to be one of St. Louis’ most highly regarded public citizens and a tireless champion of the community.