Mar 16, 2013

Are Students from Northern Virginia held to a Different Standard?

Northern Virginians like to complain that the state college system is unfairly biased against residents of communities located in the state’s most densely populated areas.

In fact, the issue is high on the list of complaints state representatives hear during reelection campaigns, as parents are increasingly vocal about how difficult it has become for some of the area’s most talented students to be admitted to Virginia's highly-regarded public institutions.

“Within Virginia, it’s not harder to be admitted from region to region,” said Jeannine Lalonde, in her Notes from Peabody UVa admissions blog. “People in densely populated areas tend to worry about this the most.”

It may or may not be more difficult to be admitted to UVa from northern Virginia, but for whatever reason, the percent of Commonwealth students attending UVa from this area appears somewhat controlled and has remained relatively flat despite huge growth in the region’s overall population.

For 2012-13, the percent of in-state students attending the University of Virginia from the northern Virginia region increased to 47 percent from 45.6 percent for each of the past two years. And without taking into account factors beyond residency, legislators representing other areas of the state feel this is more than a fair share.

As thousands of local students wait for admissions decisions due to be released shortly, it might be interesting to look at what the State says about n
orthern Virginia’s representation at each of the Commonwealth’s 4-year public colleges and universities. 

The following is based on information provided to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCEV) and reflects student residency classification as determined and reported by each institution in the fall of 2012:
  1. George Mason University: 83.8% ↓ (from last year)
  2. University of Mary Washington: 66.3% ↓
  3. College of William & Mary: 50.5% ↑
  4. University of Virginia: 47% ↑
  5. James Madison University: 44.3% ↑
  6. Christopher Newport University: 40.2% ↑
  7. Virginia Tech: 40.5% ↑
  8. Radford University: 31.4% ↑
  9. Virginia Commonwealth University: 30.8 ↑
  10. Virginia Military Institute: 30.7% ↑
  11. Longwood University: 26.1% ↑
  12. Old Dominion University: 16.7% ↑
  13. Virginia State University: 13.7% ↑
  14. University of Virginia:  47% ↑
  15. University of Virginia at Wise: 13.4% ↑
  16. Norfolk State University: 7.2%
Out of 166,722 undergraduates enrolled for the fall of 2012 in Virginia’s public institutions, almost one-third or 54,068 came from the northern Virginia region.

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