by James A. Bacon
A major piece of the University of Virginia’s value proposition is a promise to meet 100% of a student’s financial needs through grants, loans and work study. In the past, the University covered tuition, fees, room and board for students in families with incomes of less than $30,000 yearly and tuition & fees for students in families earning $80,000 or less. President Jim Ryan announced Friday that the University would bump up the thresholds to $50,000 and $100,000.
The change sends a message to families that UVa’s “doors are wide open” to families regardless of financial circumstance, Ryan declared.
The boost to financial aid was part of the administration’s messaging in announcing the 3% increases in tuition & fees in the next two academic years. Said UVA Today:
“UVA remains an extraordinary value with robust financial aid packages and loan caps, high graduation and job placement rates and a world-class educational experience,” President Jim Ryan said. “We are committed to ensuring our doors remain open to the very best students, regardless of their family’s income, and we will continue to invest in scholarship support. I’m grateful to the board for their partnership in this work.”
As Julie Andrews famously sang in “Mary Poppins,” “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” The upgrade to UVa’s financial aid package was the spoonful of sugar to sweeten the additional $21 million in tuition & fees revenue UVa can expect to collect from students next year with its 3.0% increase.
The bump in financial aid will “add about $1 million to expense,” Ryan told the Board of Visitors Friday. That sum should be more than offset by generous contributions dedicated to scholarships and financial aid during the current $5 billion fundraising campaign.