Strengthening Financial Aid

Investing in Students

 

 

Quote Mark
Your support will impact so much more than this immediate semester. It will aid my goal of attending veterinary school. Although this gift is tangible, the education and knowledge gained is priceless.
Sloane Boukobza ʼ24
Sloane Boukobza, a person wearing a lab coat, safety glasses, and blue gloves, works in a science laboratory.

 

Matthew Vassar’s strong belief in the power of higher education led him to bequeath $50,000 to a scholarship fund as part of his legacy. Since his gift, Vassar students have continued to receive scholarships and financial awards made possible thanks to the generosity of supporters of the College.

 

As you consider making a gift toward scholarship please know the importance of taking this step and the tremendous impact donors like you make in the lives of Vassar students.

 

Today, the College awards over $70 million in financial aid annually. Vassar must continue strengthening its financial support programs and we are, to date, halfway to our goal of $100 million for this effort as part of the Fearlessly Consequential campaign.

 

Can we count on your generosity as we work toward this goal?

 


Gordon Zhang, a person with black hair wearing a Vassar sweatshirt.

“I chose Vassar because of its incredible financial aid and the spectacular opportunities offered, made possible because of donor generosity. As a second-year, low-income, and first-generation student, I aspire to become a doctor to help people from similar backgrounds.

 

“Vassar’s liberal arts education has broadened my horizons. Without donor support, my Vassar experience wouldn’t be possible and I’m very appreciative.”

 

—Gordon Zhang ʼ26


Vassar meets 100 percent of the full demonstrated financial need of all of its admitted students for all four years of their liberal arts education—a large undertaking when two-thirds of the student population receives financial aid. On average, a student’s financial aid award is over $58,000.

 

A student’s financial status is not taken into consideration during the admission process at Vassar. This gives students—especially low-income and/or first-generation students—opportunities they may not have had otherwise.

 

A group of students sit at a desk. In front of them are a notebook, an open laptop, and a piece of paper.

 


“Vassar’s need-blind admissions policy is what attracted me to the College as a student in Pakistan. I required 100 percent financial aid. Without the financial aid, I would not have been able to attend Vassar, get a top-notch liberal arts education, and go on to receive my MBA at New York University, after which I joined the banking industry, retiring from Barclays in 2017.

 

“Vassar has been very generous when it comes to financial aid. It allowed me to focus on what was important: being an active part of the college community. Yes, I had to work on campus as part of my financial aid package, but it never impeded my ability to take part in extra-curricular activities like squash and Vassar International Students Association, graduating with honors, or playing hours of Ms. Pacman.

 

“Financial aid allowed me to experience all that Vassar had to offer and, afterward, to build a family and career.”

 

—Amer Sajed ʼ83


The generous support of the College’s alums, family, and friends ensures Vassar’s students the means to graduate giving them the freedom to pursue their goals and step out into the world ready to change it. Within six months of graduation, 93 percent of Vassar graduates are employed, in graduate school, or in a competitive fellowship.

 


Marissa Desir, a person with black hair wearing a red shirt, leans against a tree.

“Since the beginning, this has been one of the most intellectually stimulating times of my life, teeming with social connections and a bright community.

 

“The financial assistance Vassar has provided to me has allowed me to concentrate on studying and impacting the Vassar community. On campus, I am an executive board member for the Black Student Union, VICE Weekly, African Student Union, and Vassar Sound System. Using my positions, I aim to do my part in organizing community events that can uplift members of all identities and provide them with a heartfelt network similar to the one I was given. As a spoken word performer, I wish to further uphold the creative, genuine, and analytical virtues that encompass Vassar’s student body.

 

“I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals and discover their academic potential just as donors have helped me.”

 

—Marissa Desir ʼ25


Thank you to the donors who have made the Vassar experience accessible for many and opened the doors of opportunity wider than they ever imagined possible. With a gift to financial aid, you will join the long tradition that started with Matthew Vassar. Because of our donors’ generosity, this life-changing experience has impacted the trajectory of students’ lives in immeasurable ways and is deeply appreciated.

 

 

A group of people sit around a table, engaged in conversation.

 


“When the large ‘You’re in!’ envelope arrived in the spring of 1990, I was ecstatic, but also a bit panicked. I was 22 years old and used my small salary to pay my portion of NYC rent, groceries, subway fare, books, and other expenses as a LaGuardia Community College student. My bank had a $5 minimum to open a savings account and my balance was $6.

 

“When I met with a financial aid advisor at Vassar, I couldn’t contain my anxiety but together we came up with a plan that I could manage. Vassar honored their commitment to making my education possible.

 

“I cannot understate how life-changing this was for me and, because of it, I am a modest, but consistent annual fund donor. I love the Vassar community—ever-changing, striving to improve, and deeply committed to need-blind admission. I didn’t think a Vassar education would be possible for me, but it was because donors believed in me and the power of a Vassar education.

 

“I will give every year and am putting Vassar in my will because financial aid changes lives.”

 

—Willa Vincitore ʼ92


Supporting Future Changemakers

 

Vassar prides itself on being a pluralistic liberal arts institution. As of the fall 2023 semester, there are 2,430 students from 49 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and 53 countries.

Vassar by the numbers:

 

36% students of color

 

13% first-generation

 

97% of students live on campus

 

26% of students double major

 

45% of students complete a correlate (minor)

 

26% of students engage in an internship

 

Vassar ranks among the top selective liberal arts colleges for its high graduation rates of the College’s lowest-income students.

 

Ten people dressed in graduation gowns stand in front of a building, tossing their graduation caps in the air.

 

Types of Scholarships

 

When making a gift to financial aid, there are two types of scholarships to support: current use and endowments.

 

A current use scholarship may be created through the Vassar Fund Scholars Program with an initial gift of $10,000. These gifts have an immediate impact on Vassar students as they are distributed annually by the financial aid office.

 

An endowed scholarship fund exists in perpetuity and may be established with a gift of $250,000. Donors can choose to make the gift in full or it may be pledged over three to five years. It is also possible to make a future gift through a documented bequest. Endowed funds may also be named by the donor in their own name or in honor of someone they hold dear.

 

Significantly increasing endowment funds for financial aid to support and retain Vassar students will address the considerable and rising cost of supporting a student body that is 20 percent Pell Grant-eligible (full-need) and 15 percent first-generation/low-income. Our financial aid is essential to maintain our need-blind admission policy and continue to support a high percentage of Pell Grant-eligible students. It also allows us to increase the threshold for waiving the loan requirement, thereby helping more middle-class students.

 

 

For further information, contact Tim Kane at tkane@vassar.edu or (845) 437-5401.