The nation’s top public universities are cushioning the cost of college for those students who need it the least, according to a report by The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization. And while the University of Virginia has made important progress in minority students’ access to higher education, it lagged behind when it came to enrolling low-income students.
Incoming UVA President Teresa Sullivan arrived at University of Michigan in 2006, a year when UM’s enrollment of minority students declined. One question facing her when she takes office in August: What will her impact be on UVA’s low-income and minority student enrollment?
According to the study, research-extensive public institutions spent a grand total of $361 million in 2007 on grant money for families with an income of more than $115,000—a 28 percent increase from 2003—and another $400 million on students from families making $80,000 to $115,000 per year.
Greg Roberts, UVA Dean of Admission, says that, as far as UVA goes, things have changed since the 2006 data. “I think we have made tremendous improvements, especially in the low-income area in the past few years,” he says. For the 2009 class, 31 percent of enrolled UVA students are receiving need-based financial aid, an increase from 24 percent in 2006.
Furthermore, students who are eligible for Pell Grants—federal money awarded to students on the basis of their demonstrated need, with an average family income of $20,000 in 2007-2008—have increased at UVA. “I think another statistic that is worth noting is that in 2006…about 8 percent of our students were Pell eligible, and now it’s 11 percent and that is increasing,” says Roberts.
“It’s true, certainly we are not where we would like to be,” he adds, “but we think that we are moving in the right direction.”
Mary Lynch, one of the authors of the report, says that UVA performed better, according to the 2006 data, in enrolling minority students than low-income. Lynch says that, in 2006, approximately 10 percent of UVA students came from low-income families, while 32 percent of all college students in Virginia were low-income.
However, it’s not all bad news. “We see that there is some progress there… They were one of the biggest improvers among flagships on access to low-income students,” she says.
Access UVA is one cause behind this progress. It’s a financial aid program championed by late Dean of Admission John Blackburn and favored by President John Casteen that meets 100 percent of a student’s financial need.
Lynch says that while public universities are trying to compete for high-income and high-achieving students, the efforts put towards recruiting low-income, high-achieving students is unequal.
“[The universities] are working hard to compete in college ranking guides, like the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which does not give much credit for enrolling low-income and minority students,” she says. “It actually gives you more points for who you exclude from your university.”
Just last week, UVA announced that a record number of admission applications—22,396, up from last year’s 21,831—were received for the 2014 class. Roberts says that he is trying to build a class of freshmen and transfer students “that are (A) academically talented and qualified, and (B) diverse,” he says. “Those are our two priorities and diversity takes many forms—it could be racial, it could be socio-economic, it could be diversity of talent, and all sorts of things.”
Interestingly, President-elect Teresa Sullivan comes from the University of Michigan, a school that also performed poorly in enrolling low-income students. In contrast to UVA, however, the representation of minority students at UM has decreased since 2004. It should be noted that Sullivan arrived in Ann Arbor the same year that data was collected for the report. She was not available for comment at press time.
When Bank of America closes its branch doors downtown in February, it leaves a grand 1916 building in its wake that will house a steakhouse, according to building owner Hunter Craig. And while he declined to identify the grilled meat purveyor, he did say it would be locally owned, not a
Elizabeth Valtierra was nervous. Like many across the nation, the Charlottesville High School senior spent election night with her family, gathered around a television in the living room. As the earliest states were called for Donald Trump, her family made jokes and tried to laugh it off. They
These days, Richard Spencer, class of 2001, is being voted least popular by his former classmates at UVA and his Dallas prep school, St. Mark’s. Spencer, who says he coined the term “alt-right” and is president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute, has raised the ire of some UVA
And the next election cycle begins Charlottesville Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania says he’ll seek his boss’ job in 2017. Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman plans to retire after 24 years as the city’s top prosecutor. And state Senator Bryce Reeves officially threw his hat into
Even before Mark Brown listed the Main Street Arena for sale for $6.5 million in September, the rumor mill was working overtime about possible buyers for the prime Downtown Mall location, including speculation back in the spring that a Japanese developer wanted to turn it into a hotel. The
Another unremarkably named structure will soon be joining The Flats and The Uncommon student housing on West Main: The Standard. Located across the street from The Flats on the site of the soon-to-be demolished Republic Plaza, the six-story, 70′ structure has already raised concerns about
An overflow crowd packed City Council chambers December 5 for Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy’s first appearance since the racist, misogynist and homophobic tweets he made before taking office were released on Thanksgiving. And the man who created the firestorm, Jason Kessler, showed up with a petition
Christopher Seymore, an ex-officer with the Charlottesville Police Department, appeared in the city’s general district court via webcam December 2. Charged the previous day with two counts of forcible sodomy, he was denied bond until he can meet with his court-appointed attorney. Seymore, 35,
In early November, an Albemarle County police K9 bit and injured a colt owned by an Augusta County farm owner—just a year and a half after a dog with the Charlottesville Police Department attacked a child. Is it time for man’s best friend to be laid off? While on a jog with its handler November
Tired of tucking tags into your new party dress so you can return it after you wear it to a big event? You’re in luck—two local innovators have solved that problem for you. And it’s completely legal. Introducing Rohvi, a technology platform that allows subscribers to buy full-price items at
Even in November, balmy weather and the Virginia Film Festival had throngs out on the Downtown Mall. But it wasn’t always that way. For years after Charlottesville bricked its main street in 1976, the place was a ghost town after 5pm. Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin’s early 1970s vision of
We’ve all heard tales of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, a three-day feast among Native Americans and pilgrims, celebrating the latter’s first harvest in the New World. This year, some locals spent the holiday at Standing Rock Reservation, supporting the indigenous people in North and South
Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy, a teacher at Albemarle High School, has agreed to take an administrative leave of absence while the school division investigates “vulgar” tweets he made before being elected to Charlottesville City Council, according to a statement today from the Albemarle
On a recent day, Cristine Nardi, executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, was working with four different nonprofits on a variety of challenges: a succession plan for an executive director; how to handle a potential sexual harassment issue within the organization; how to do a
Another development planned for West Main Street comes in the form of a Richmond-based, 75-room boutique hotel and art gallery called Quirk. On August 30, an application for the project was presented to the Board of Architectural Review, and neighbors were there to voice their concerns. “It’s
A journey to India for meditation and enlightenment in late November 2008 turned into a terrorist bloodbath that left 164 people dead throughout multiple locations in Mumbai. Among them were a father and daughter from Synchronicity Foundation in Nelson County. Days later, the modern
The faint smell of smoke surrounding the city Tuesday morning is coming from two large wildfires in Nelson and Amherst counties, according to Charlottesville Fire Department Chief Andrew Baxter. The situation in Nelson County, referred to as Eades Hollow Fire, is currently consuming between 300
Sandra Marks, aka Psychic Catherine, was sentenced to 30 months in jail November 18 in federal court for bilking victims in search of spiritual solace, and she was ordered to pay more than $5.4 million in restitution. In court and in a sentencing memo, Marks’ attorney, Bill Dinkin, said
Awkward election night, part 1 After three University Police officers used their PA systems to broadcast “Make America great again” in the wee hours, Chief Michael Gibson says in a November 10 e-mail he was “disappointed” in the inappropriate use. UPD is investigating the incident and the three
“Take it one day at a time,” former smoker David Allard says about the best way to approach kicking a bad habit. “You just have to keep trying.” Picking up his first cigarette at 15 years old, Allard, now 52, says he’s learned that quitting smoking is a different journey for everyone who’s ever