Last month, the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors voted to cut funding for the college’s financial aid program known as AccessUVa. Despite the university's $5 billion endowment – which has more than doubled since 2001 – the Board of Visitors decided to cut aid for those who need it most: Students from the lowest-income families.
Having benefited from AccessUVa myself, I decided to do a little digging.
Here are the facts:
UVA is the single wealthiest public university per capita in our country. It also has one of the least economically diverse student bodies in the nation in terms of low-income student access. According to U.S. Department of Education data, we rank in the bottom five percent of colleges in terms of low-income student access, as measured by the percent of the student body receiving a Pell Grant.
Despite these facts, the University still decided to cut it’s financial aid program, forcing the poorest students to graduate with up to $28,000 in debt – if they aren’t deterred from attending in the first place. For a student from a poor family, $28,000 in additional debt is often unbearable – it could be at least ⅔ of their family’s income.
I created this graphic below to summarize this issue for students and Virginia residents. Please share this image with your friends and family on Facebook, and urge them to sign the petition I started:
The Board of Visitors is scheduled to meet next week, September 19th and 20th, and I — along with other students from the university — plan on being there to hand-deliver this petition and demand the Board take a re-vote on AccessUVa.
Supporters all over the country have been standing with students at the University of Virginia from the very beginning of this campaign, and I know for a fact that administrators at the University have noticed. With only 10 days to go before the next board meeting, students at the University of Virginia need as much support as possible. Please sign the petition. If you have already, please ask at least five others to sign as well. Your signature or theirs could be the one that tips the scales.