Access to Excellence

It’s simple. Vassar College was founded on the principle of equality of opportunity.

In creating his college, Matthew Vassar endorsed what was, at the time, a most radical notion: that young women should have the same opportunity to strive for academic excellence as young men. From our founder’s first gifts to the school that would bear his name, commitment to this principle has also meant ensuring, in his words, “that no student of superior promise should be turned away due to a lack of means.”

It’s a tradition that has continued through a century and a half. Some 62% of the current Vassar freshman class receives financial aid directly from the College. Clearly, to keep drawing the best and brightest students from an ever more diverse population, we must have the resources to attract them. Keep in mind, too, that a diverse classroom environment improves the quality of a Vassar education for all of our students. It also better prepares them for the world they will face after graduation – a world where openness to considering and evaluating other points of view will be an essential skill.

But crucial though it is, financial aid only begins to define access to excellence at Vassar. The bedrock of the Vassar experience – a liberal arts education of superlative quality – must be sustained in order to allow all of our students access to the College’s extraordinary resources. While alumnae/i, parents and friends will be familiar with the excellence of Vassar’s academics, like financial aid, it comes with a cost. That’s why access to excellence, in all its forms, is a top priority of our Vassar 150: World Changing campaign.