Washington University boosts aid to low-income students

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – One of the country’s top universities is increasing its annual financial commitment to low-income undergraduate students by $25 million in hopes of eliminating a dubious distinction.

Washington University in St. Louis plans to increase its proportion of students eligible to receive federal Pell grants from 8 percent to 13 percent by 2020. The highly-rated private school ranks at the bottom of the country’s wealthiest schools when it comes to how few Pell recipients it enrolls.

Pell grants are generally limited to students whose family income is below $40,000.

School leaders have acknowledged funneling more financial aid to more affluent students with high tests scores to elevate the school’s national stature.

The university also announced a 3.5 percent tuition boost it says is the lowest, by percentage, in nearly 50 years.