In effort to remove obstacles in the college admissions process, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that it is eliminating its undergraduate application fee. The change, which takes effect immediately, supports WPI’s mission of expanding access to a high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.
“WPI is passionate about increasing access to our distinctive, life-changing education,” said President Laurie Leshin. “For any students even considering WPI, we urge you to apply to become a member of our community of purpose-driven STEM learners dedicated to making a positive impact in communities everywhere. By removing our application fee, we hope to eliminate a barrier that students and their families may face in applying to college.”
The university regards the elimination of the $70 application fee as an investment in access for its applicants and future WPI students.
“As with our work to remove other barriers to access, our decision to eliminate the application fee started with us taking a step back and considering what this admissions process is like for students and their families,” said Andrew Palumbo, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management & Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid. “Requiring students to pay a fee to receive an admissions decision is in direct conflict with our mission to increase access to a high-quality STEM education.”
The move to drop the application fee is another example of WPI’s historic commitment to attract a more diverse pool of applicants. In 2007, WPI led access efforts among national STEM universities, becoming the first in the nation to adopt a test-optional admissions policy. Eliminating the requirement for standardized test scores is part of a more equitable, holistic review process—and WPI’s commitment to students historically underrepresented in STEM majors has made WPI a more diverse and inclusive university. In 2019, citing bias in the test, WPI also removed standardized test scores from all financial aid considerations (including merit-based and need-based scholarships). In recent years WPI has also joined the American Talent Initiative, introduced the Great Minds Scholars program, and received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholar Program and S-STEM grant.
Collectively, these actions have resulted in a dramatic increase in on-campus diversity and access to a WPI education for all students. Between 2008 and 2019, WPI’s percentage of women in its undergraduate students increased from 27% to 40%. Similarly, the percentage of underrepresented students of color increased from 8% to 13%. The university believes that, over time, eliminating the application fee will have a similar positive impact.
WPI will be contacting those who already submitted an undergraduate application this fall to provide reimbursement. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.