The Office for Student Success creates an infrastructure of support to assist low-income and first-generation undergraduate students at Washington University with their transition to and through college.

The office uses a principled approach to enhance the on-campus experience of all students in the following four areas:

  • Creating experiential equity – We work to ensure that the full WashU experience is available to all students, regardless of background.
  • Harnessing cultural wealth – We see the diversity of our community with an asset-based view. It is the diversity of perspectives, experiences, and thoughts that make WashU a rich intellectual environment.
  • Utilizing high-impact educational practices – We build our infrastructure and programs upon data-driven approaches to improving student outcomes.
  • Building a framework for student success – We believe that the habits students form through deep engagement with the campus community in both academic and non-academic settings can play a critical role in post-graduate preparedness and confidence.

We take an expansive view of student success, realizing that success on both the academic and non-academic fronts impact and inform each other. We use this understanding to guide our approach to the various programs and initiatives within our diverse portfolio.


Deneb STARS (Sustaining Talented Academically Recognized Students) is an invitation-only community that provides you with support during your four years at WashU. Deneb STARS forms a cohort-based community for low-income and first generation students. The program also helps develop leaders within and beyond the Deneb STARS community. We work closely with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to identify and recruit a diverse and talented class of Deneb STARS each year.

Early Arrival Program

The Early Arrival Program is an annual orientation program designed specifically for first-year students joining the Deneb STARS community. Alongside the Student Leadership Corps and Office for Student Success staff, you’ll participate in a variety of activities focused on facilitating a seamless and fun transition on to campus. Programming will include team-building activities, student panels, dinners with peers, faculty and staff, and presentations from Campus Life, Student Financial Services, and other offices you may engage with throughout your time here.

Student Success Resources

We recognize that, oftentimes costs shift from semester to semester and may fall outside of what is considered part of your traditional “cost of attendance.” We are committed to ensuring that you aren’t unnecessarily burdened by these costs or negatively impacted by unexpected situations that may arise during your time here. Should you find yourself in need of financial assistance, there are various grants that you may be eligible to apply for, including the Student Success Fund, the Student Union Opportunity Fund and the Student Union Mental Health Fund.


TRIO is a federally funded U.S. Department of Education program that supports first generation, low income, and/or students with disabilities transition into and graduate from college. The TRIO Scholars Program at WashU has been in operation for fifty years, making it one of the longest continuous funded programs in the history of the United States Department of Education.

Residential Life Projects

With our campus partners in Dining Services, Hillel, Chabad, the Muslim Students Association, and the Vice Chancellor for Operations and Technology Transfer, the Office for Student Success played a pivotal role broadening the availability of kosher and halal meal availability on the Danforth Campus. We continue to work with all interested parties to ensure that all students have access to quality and adequate food options on campus.

Student Perspective

I Am A STAR(S) and You Might Be, Too!

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