May 26, 2012

Tour Colleges and Save

Eastern Mennonite University
The Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) recently announced that Virginia Private College Week is scheduled to run this summer from July 30 to August 4th and will once again offer college-bound students the opportunity to tour and save.

Thanks to some creative thinking, CICV launched an incentive program designed to bring high school students and their families to Virginia’s private college campuses by giving away application fee waivers.

Literally hundreds of students take advantage of the offer each year as groups of families drive from campus to campus on summer vacations that double as traditional college tours.

It works this way:
  1. Decide which schools you want to visit. There are 25 from which to choose, and they are located in virtually every corner of scenic Virginia.
  2. Register for tours at each of the schools you plan to visit. Yes, register. It’s not required, but it really helps the schools plan for materials and tour guides.
  3. Organize your travel plans. Transportation information and driving instructions are available on individual college websites. Note that this is not an organized bus tour.
  4. Pick up a passport at the first college. It’s cute—a little like Disney’s EPCOT.
  5. At the end of each tour, get the passport stamped.
  6. Once you accumulate at least three stamps, mail the passport to CICV, 118 East Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523.
Bingo! You’ve won three application fee waivers for any of the Virginia private colleges, and not necessarily the ones you visited.

For example, if you visit Marymount, Shenandoah, and Lynchburg, you can use your fee waivers at any of these three universities or at Randolph-Macon, Washington & Lee, or the University of Richmond. Your choice!

By the way, Virginia’s private institutions often get overshadowed by the Commonwealth’s strong public colleges and universities. But you really should take a closer look, as these schools offer wonderful opportunities for students with a variety of college criteria and interests. Much more information, including an interactive listing of colleges by majors, may be found on the CICV website.

And as you’re considering Virginia private colleges, don’t forget about the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). This amazing program offers financial awards to students attending any of Virginia’s private colleges or universities. The sole eligibility requirement is that you live in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s really pretty sweet.

Also keep in mind that Virginia 529 plans can be applied to the tuition at any Virginia private college.  All four savings programs offered by the Virginia College Savings Plan—The Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST), CollegeAmerica®, CollegeWealth®, and the Virginia Prepaid Education Program (VPEP)—can be used at any of the Virginia private colleges.

Start making plans now.  If you have questions about the tour or the advantages of Virginia’s private colleges, you can call 540.586.0606 or visit the CICV website.

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