Washington and Lee University

2014 Quick Stats
204 W. Washington Street

Lexington, VA 24450-2116

Phone: (540) 458-8400
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Jan. 1
application deadline

More Information


U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#14 Overall Score: 86 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Washington and Lee University is a private institution that was founded in 1749. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,838, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 430 acres. Washington and Lee University's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 14. Its tuition and fees are $44,507 (2013-14).

Washington and Lee University is located in historic Lexington, Va., three hours southwest of Washington, D.C. The school fields 24 NCAA Division III sports and most compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Its men’s and women’s tennis teams have both won national championships. There are more than 120 student organizations, including several secret societies, such as the Mongolian Minks, the Cadaver Society and the Sigma Society. Approximately 80 percent of students are involved in Greek life, which comprises nearly 25 fraternity and sorority chapters. Freshmen are required to live on campus in one of four residence halls.

Washington and Lee University has two undergraduate divisions: the College, and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. The school’s only graduate school is its highly ranked School of Law. The school was named after George Washington, who gave a generous endowment to the school, and Robert E. Lee, who was one of the college’s presidents following the Civil War. The historic tradition of the Washington and Lee Mock Convention, held every four years, has correctly predicted the presidential nominee of the party that is currently out of the White House 19 times out of 25 attempts since 1908 and has received C-SPAN coverage. Notable alumni include Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, former U.S. Senator John Warner, Christian televangelist Pat Robertson and author and journalist Tom Wolfe.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Washington and Lee University, the nation's ninth oldest institution of higher education, is an independent liberal arts university that develops students' capacity to think freely, critically and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity and civility. Washington and Lee prepares its graduates for a life of learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.

Washington and Lee recruits and supports students with exceptional intellectual and personal characteristics. Student self-government, including the administration of the honor system, fosters a community based on trust and permits students to develop as leaders in all areas of campus life; they then become leaders in their communities and professions. Through coursework, research, campus life and service to others, W&L students are deeply engaged in the local and global community.

Washington and Lee's faculty of teacher-scholars is committed to a student-oriented approach to scholarship, engaging and inspiring undergraduates in the classroom, the laboratory and beyond. By serving as both models and mentors, W&L faculty members have a profound, lifelong impact on their students. More than 88 percent of the faculty hold earned doctorate or terminal degrees and are active researchers in their chosen fields.

Washington and Lee's curriculum blends traditional liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional programs in business, journalism and law, giving students a contemporary perspective necessary to flourish in a complex world. The Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability integrates sustained, rigorous academic study and focused direct service to disadvantaged communities and persons, while the Nabors Service League matches student volunteers with local needs. In recent years, the School of Law has led the charge in re-imagining legal education, especially the development of a new third-year program.

Washington and Lee students are actively involved in shaping their education. Slightly more than 25 percent of the students participate in 24 varsity athletics teams. More than 120 student organizations are a key aspect of campus life. Students are committed to leadership and service and enjoy numerous opportunities to participate in both. The quadrennial Mock Convention has built a reputation as the most realistic in the nation. Students in the Williams Investment Society manage $1 million of the University's endowment, primarily in equity securities.

Washington and Lee's campus is a national historic landmark and has a timeless beauty. The city of Lexington offers small-town charm, and the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains provide unparalleled natural surroundings. While preserving its history, the University has expanded in recent years to offer students a modern learning environment.

Washington and Lee enjoys a rich history dating to its founding in 1749. George Washington saved the then-struggling institute in 1796, when he gave the school its first endowment gift of $20,000 in James River Canal stock. In 1813, Washington acknowledged and accepted the honor of the institution's renaming as Washington College. When Robert E. Lee served as president from 1865 until his death in 1870, he expanded course offerings, instituted innovative programs and established two of the University's most cherished hallmarks, the Honor System and the speaking tradition. After Lee's death, the trustees changed the school's name to Washington and Lee University.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1749
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar 4-4-1
Setting rural
2012 Endowment $1,261,553,000


When applying to Washington and Lee University, it's important to note the application deadline is January 1, and the early decision deadline is November 1. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due February 15. The application fee at Washington and Lee University is $50. It is most selective, with an acceptance rate of 19.5 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity most selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 19.5%
Application deadline January 1
SAT/ACT scores must be received by February 15

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Washington and Lee University is 8:1, and the school has 71.2 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Washington and Lee University include: Business Administration and Management, General; Economics, General; Political Science and Government, General; Accounting and Business/Management; and Biology/Biological Sciences, General. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 94 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 8:1
4-year graduation rate 88%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 14%
Economics, General 10%
Political Science and Government, General 10%
Accounting and Business/Management 7%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 7%

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Student Life

Washington and Lee University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,838, with a gender distribution of 50.6 percent male students and 49.4 percent female students. At this school, 59 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 41 percent of students live off campus. Washington and Lee University is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 2,302
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Washington and Lee University offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, placement service, health service, and health insurance. Washington and Lee University also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at Washington and Lee University, 63 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Washington and Lee University.

Students who have cars on campus 63%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Washington and Lee University, 41.5 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $38,375.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $44,507 (2013-14)
Room and board $10,250 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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