Jun 22, 2013

Richmond to offer Free Tuition, Room and Board to Qualified Virginia Students with Families earning less than $60,000

University of Richmond
Beginning next year, the University of Richmond will raise the family income amount at which incoming first-year students from Virginia will qualify for free tuition, room and board—without assuming the burden of loans.

Virginia students from families whose total household income is less than $60,000 will be eligible for the program, with the new income level to take effect for University of Richmond freshmen entering in fall 2014. Previously, the full tuition, room and board assistance was available to families whose total family income totaled $40,000 or less.

The need-based financial assistance will make a high quality college education affordable and accessible for more Virginians and places Richmond in a league with some of the biggest names in higher education in terms of generosity targeted to low and moderate income students.

Effective this year, Harvard also raised its income cut-off to accommodate more students, as families with incomes currently below $65,000 are not expected to contribute to college costs. And at Stanford University, students from families that make less than $60,000 receive free tuition and room and board, while families making less than $100,000 don’t pay tuition.

“We know that many families are seeking to secure a quality college education for their children within a challenging economic environment,” said Nanci Tessier, Richmond's vice president for enrollment management. “By broadening the income parameters of this program, we can expand the reach of the University of Richmond to become a destination for more talented students from middle-class Virginian families.”

Richmond’s announcement runs somewhat counter to recent trends in which previously-generous tuition assistance programs have been withdrawn or limited.  Dartmouth, Williams, Carlton and Claremont McKenna Colleges restored loans in financial aid packages of some students, and Yale, Cornell and MIT scaled back the generosity of their programs.

But despite difficult economic conditions, both the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia have managed to maintain strong financial commitments to low income students.  Under AccessUVa, UVa  replaces need-based loans with grants in the financial aid packages of low-income students who are Pell eligible.

The catch with any of these programs is that students must meet basic entrance requirements and be admitted to the schools.  This has proven challenging, and colleges committed to increasing access among low and moderate income students typically have to step-up outreach efforts to encourage applications from qualified students with low family incomes.

For admissions information or more details on Richmond’s new financial assistance program, visit the University of Richmond website or contact the Admissions Office directly.

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