Jun 11, 2009

Tour Schools and Save

I don't know many people who won't jump at the opportunity to save money. For this reason, I'm always on the lookout for cost-saving opportunities to pass on. And this is a good one!

Several months ago I wrote about a partnership between AMTRAK and Campus Visit offering reduced-price train fares for students and their families touring colleges (April 22, 2009). Taking this a step further, the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) has launched a program designed to provide students with an opportunity to earn application fee waivers for up to three member institutions by simply taking the time to visit any three private colleges in Virginia, during the week of July 27 through August 1, 2009. It works this way:

1. Decide which schools you want to visit. There are up to 27 to choose from, and they are located in virtually every corner of Virginia. Make a vacation of it!
2. Register for tours at each of the schools you plan to visit. Yes, register. I know it's commitment, but it really helps the schools plan for materials and tour guides.
3. Pick up a passport at the first college. It's cute--a little like Disney's EPCOT.
4. At the conclusion of your tour, get the passport stamped.
5. Once you have accumulated at least three stamps, mail the passport to CICV, 118 East Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523.

BINGO! You've won three application fee waivers to any of the 27 Virginia private schools, and not necessarily the ones you visited. If you have questions, you can call 540.586.0606 or visit the Private College Week website:


BTW, Virginia's private schools often get overshadowed by our strong public institutions. I encourage you to take a closer look, as these schools offer wonderful opportunities for students with a variety of college criteria and interests. Much more information, including a very useful listing by majors, can be found at:


Finally, I want to remind you about the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). Open to Virginia residents only, this amazing program offers financial awards to students attending any of Virginia's private colleges or universities. The only eligibility requirement is that you live in Virginia! Although the grant may vary from year to year, the award for the 2009-2010 academic year is $3,000 or approximately $12,000 over four years. That's FREE MONEY, which when combined with the generous merit scholarships offered by these schools can amount to some real savings. If you don't believe me, check it out:


I really hope you take advantage of these terrific incentives to visit a few of Virginia's private schools. You may be surprised at all you will learn!

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