Student debt: What is VCU doing about student debt?

VCU is focusing on controllable factors that affect affordability and financial accessibility.

Initiatives include:

  • Creating scholarships for students through the recently launched Make It Real Campaign for VCU, the university’s largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in history
  • Expanding financial aid strategically to support our neediest students and to attract high-performing in and out-of-state students; this year’s budget includes more than $88 million in funding to support merit-based aid, need-based aid and tuition waivers.
  • Counseling VCU students and their families on financial matters through:
    • New student orientation – in person and online
    • The Money Spot at VCU, a peer-to-peer financial coaching service
    • Advisers trained in financial aid policy
  • Providing options like microgrants for students about to head into their final semester to assist with costs
  • Highlighting VCU’s highly successful Do the Math awareness campaign to encourage students to take 15 credits a semester for timely graduation, the results of which include increased credit-hour enrollments from 56 percent of freshmen in fall 2011 to 82 percent in fall 2016

We have a high-risk group, with one-third of our students being first-generation college students and nearly one-third being Pell grant recipients. Even so, the Education Trust has recognized VCU’s strides at closing the graduation gap between minority and white students.