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.
“It’s like a twin-engine plane” is how an Albemarle County resident and local teacher describes the noise that now overpowers the quiet bustle and birdsong of his once-peaceful backyard. Donald Healy and his wife live in a townhome on Commonwealth Drive, behind the recently opened Costco in the
In the summer of 2012, the co-captain of the Fluvanna County High School girls varsity soccer team was charged with mis-demeanor assault and battery and given a 90-day suspended sentence for biting an ex-teammate, who was playing for Western Albemarle High School in a heavily anticipated
March 17—St. Patrick’s Day—was a pretty typical day for third-year Martese Johnson at the University of Virginia. A Tuesday, it was one of the heaviest academic days for the media studies and Italian major, and he was in class until mid-afternoon. That evening, “I hung out with friends on the
Local fire chiefs were in the news last week. The city hired Henrico County Assistant Chief Andrew Baxter to head the Charlottesville Fire Department, succeeding Charles Werner, who retired after 37 years in the department. Although he’s worked in Henrico since 1995, Baxter has lived in the
Carter Mountain, Charlottesville’s popular site for fall apple picking and barbecue, has become the scene of police investigations for the third time in a year as the latest in a string of strange happenings was reported this past Wednesday. First was the discovery of skeletal remains found
The Public Housing Association of Residents and local branch of the NAACP passed the first hurdle in their lawsuit against the City of Charlottesville for police records of stops and frisks when a judge refused the city’s request to throw out the suit August 25. The case is also raising
In our experience, the current Republican majority in the General Assembly excels at exactly one thing: grandstanding. Not great at legislating, consensus-building or acknowledging basic reality, but boy do they know how to make a ruckus. If the definition of a conservative is, as National
On August 26, viewers of Roanoke’s WDBJ morning news show initially didn’t know what had happened when the camera abruptly dropped and multiple pops could be heard. Later, they were shocked to learn they’d witnessed the execution of a reporter and cameraman on live TV during the interview of a
If Kurt Kroboth was hoping for a better life with a new identity in California, the ex-convict received a painful surprise last week when he was arrested for a parole violation that may, ironically, have stemmed from something he put on his name change application. Kroboth is being held (under
Those heady first weeks of freedom as a college student have a name: the red zone, the time when freshman females are most at risk for sexual assault. And this year, the University of Virginia is mandating two online classes on alcohol and substance abuse, and sexual violence for both male and
On August 19, Senator Mark Warner attended a round-table discussion hosted by local hiring platform Moonlighting about employment, the government’s role in a sharing economy and efforts to help people make more money. More than a dozen local workers from freelance and independent contract
The family of the man killed in a May 25 Barracks Road traffic accident is now suing the driver police say caused the crash in a wrongful death lawsuit. Andrew Middleditch, 55, was turning left when officers say Lonnie Branham, 78, attempted to pass him. The cars collided and Branham crashed
Jesse Matthew shuffled into Albemarle Circuit Court in a greenish-gray jail jumpsuit, leg shackles and a belly chain that attached his handcuffed wrists to the middle of his torso. That attire was the subject of one of 12 motions filed by his attorneys, who argued that his appearance in
U.S. citizenship meant a new beginning for Tilahun Goshu and his family—one where they would no longer live in fear and they could begin building their dream home, which Goshu envisioned being passed down to his children and his children’s children. But no sooner than he moved into his new
In April, Governor Terry McAuliffe ordered state agencies to stop asking applicants seeking employment if they have been convicted of felonies. That largesse does not apply to the voting booth, and three felons who attempted to register to vote in Albemarle without checking the box on prior
Residents of Westhaven, which has one of the highest violent crime rates in the city, have started to see a more constant police presence in their neighborhood over the last month—at the same time a nonprofit is teaching kids their rights in police encounters. Charlottesville Police officers
At the start of a new academic year, it’s inevitable that some students mourn their summer vacations and others feel happy to have something to do. Either way, going back to school can be a stressful time for both students and parents. Who’s picking Jacob up from football practice? And how much
President Barack Obama called Julian Bond “a hero,” and many thought the man who was the telegenic face of the civil rights movement since he co-founded Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s would be America’s first black president. Bond, who was professor emeritus at UVA,
As you may or may not know, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 recently turned 50, resulting in a flurry of news stories both celebrating the act’s many accomplishments, and lamenting the fact that a central tenant of the law, known as “preclearance,” had been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court
On a recent Friday morning, roughly a hundred people rolled out of bed and said, “Let’s hike Humpback Rocks today.” By 11am the parking lot at the base of the hike was filled. License plates ranged from Alabama to Massachusetts. Several SUVs staked their claim on the grass, nearest to the