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Here for Every Voice Sets Smith Solidly on Path to Need-Blind Admission

Published June 28, 2023

When Sena Amuzu ’24, a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, was looking at colleges, affordability was her top consideration. She is not alone. For many promising students, the barriers to college—financial and otherwise—are tremendous and profoundly unjust. As Egypt Ballet ’23 puts it, “I don’t think enough people talk about how difficult it is being first generation and/or low income and having to figure out how to apply to college, often totally alone.”

The Here for Every Voice initiative is removing financial barriers so that all students can attend Smith, regardless of family resources. It’s also helping to equalize the Smith experience, ensuring that all Smith students can thrive. And, crucially, as demographic trends signal greater competition for college-age students, the initiative is strengthening Smith’s future with increased endowed financial aid funds that can be used to attract, enroll and retain the most promising students. Meeting the initiative’s $200 million goal will allow Smith to become need blind and remove financial considerations from admission decisions.

Hundreds of amazing students have benefited from the Here for Every Voice endowed funds, and thousands more will in the years to come. Smith is among a small number of liberal arts colleges that meet all demonstrated financial need for accepted students (including “extra” essentials such as conference fees and textbook purchases), and is one of an even more select group that has replaced undergraduate student loans with grants. During the first year of the no- loans program, the academic year just ended, Smith replaced loans with grants in the financial aid packages of over 1,600 students.

The Here for Every Voice initiative has helped Smith increase financial aid awards significantly. Between academic years 2020–21 and 2021–22, financial aid awards increased more than 25%, from $71 million to $90 million. And aspiring Smithies are noticing! Admission numbers for the incoming class of 2027 have broken records once again.

“President McCartney’s passionate leadership in addressing educational access and affordability for students from all walks of life has placed Smith at the forefront of the nation. We are recognized for our bold thinking and impactful moves to change lives and create a more just world. Thanks to the caring generosity of Smith alums, we are well on our way to achieving the financial stability needed to ensure that the best and brightest students can attend Smith, regardless of family resources, now and forever.”
—Beth Balmuth Raffeld
Senior Vice President for Alumnae Relations and Development

What Students Say

"Financial aid has created pathways in my life that I never thought were possible. I have been granted fellowships and opportunities that actualize my wildest dreams for my future.”
Sena Amuzu ’24

Sena Amuzu

“Financial aid means proximity to my dreams, one less burden for me and my family, and one more win for my community.”
Rukaiya Abdullah ’23

“To see the ways in which Smith has increased grant funding for its students in recent years makes me proud to call myself a Smithie.”
Norma Jean Haynes AC ’23

“Smith’s decision [to replace loans with grants] is a big step toward an equitable education that I hope to see other colleges take.”
Mariam Ahmed ’24

“Knowing that I have a debt-free future makes it possible for me to make the most out of my time here. Smith’s generous financial aid makes me feel that this community wants me.”
Marta Almazovaite ’24

By Nicole Pellaton; this article appears in the Summer 2023 Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

To make an endowed gift or to learn more about supporting financial aid at Smith, please contact Betsy Carpenter ’93, associate vice president for development, at 413-585-2052 or