By Beth Anne Spacht
November 12, 2015
Guest post by: Nadine Saint, '10, Assistant Director of Admission
If you are a Virginia resident, most likely you live a stone’s throw or short drive away from a college or university. As a prospective student growing up in the Commonwealth, you can find institutions large, small, private, public, urban, and suburban – all offering excellent educational opportunities. I grew up in the Tidewater area of Virginia, and many of my classmates chose to stay in-state for their college experience. However, I was the only student in my graduating class to choose Richmond, which, now that I look back, seems strange. As an alumna and now staff member of the University of Richmond, I can easily reflect on the many reasons why Virginia students should choose to become a Spider. For those of you on the fence about applying, I’d like to share some of the aspects that helped to shape my decision.
The cost of a college education is a top concern for prospective students and their families. Fortunately, Richmond is an institution with plentiful resources to make coming to campus in the fall a dream within reach. First, Richmond is committed to assisting low-income families of Virginia through Richmond’s Promise to Virginia. Families whose total parental income is $60,000 or less qualify for a financial aid package equal to full-time tuition, room, and board, without loans. And for families whose household income falls under $110,000, the average total cost per year is still lower at UR compared to most public universities across the state due to the generosity of our financial aid. Last but not least, all Virginia residents who choose to enroll full-time in a private institution are eligible for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG). VTAG is essentially free money that is not based on financial need or merit. This year, the estimated grant is $3,100. Students can reapply each year they’re enrolled at a private institution.
Often, the price tag associated with private education can seem steep – especially when there are numerous public institutions to choose from in Virginia. However, I would challenge you to look beyond the “sticker price” and consider the value of the education, as well as the depth of resources that an institution like Richmond can offer its students. When you couple a well-funded private institution with a relatively small population of undergraduates, the resource dollars per student is staggering. For example, after reviewing average indebtedness of graduating students across Virginia, the University of Richmond comes in lower or comparable to a majority of Virginia public institutions. Additionally, Richmond is one of only two institutions in Virginia that are both need-blind in the admission process and promise to meet 100% of every student’s demonstrated need. The combination of these policies is a strong commitment to making Richmond a reality for all of our future Spiders.
Richmond was a match for me in more ways than one. Not only was I provided with a generous aid package that was competitive and/or more generous than the public institutions I was considering, I felt that UR was making an investment in me as much as I was making an investment in them. Furthermore, this investment does not begin and end with cost of attendance, but extends into the programming available to students to maximize their development through living-learning communities, study abroad, research and internships. Most notably, the Richmond Guarantee is an unprecedented initiative that guarantees every student up to $4,000 to participate in a summer internship or research experience. Internships are plentiful in Richmond, across the country, and even abroad, but unfortunately many excellent professional opportunities are unpaid. Due to the Richmond Guarantee our students do not have to sacrifice a formative career development experience because of cost. At every turn, there is focus on how the University can invest in its students to make them globally aware, discerning, and successful.
Senior Assistant Director of Admission
A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.
Beth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission
Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.
The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.