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Written By: Marcus Rini -

Attention all college-bound high school students,

This is a public service announcement: Christmas appears to have come early for all students (and their parents) who are considering the University of Virginia as a potential college destination.  As per John Walsh, with Business Insider, new UVA President Jim Ryan has announced that UVA will be offering free tuition for all students whose families make under $80,000/yr before tax.  Better yet, for students whose families earn less than $30,000/yr before tax, the University of Virginia will offer free tuition AND room and board.  This is an extraordinarily generous deal coming from a University that has much to give, and has chosen to give much.  In light of the news, I want to address an underlying byproduct that will come as a result of this decision.

First and foremost, this will likely result in UVA receiving yet more applications from more students in the state of Virginia.  Having to process more applications will inevitably make admissions to the University EVEN MORE selective than before (it was already highly selective).  My reason for sharing this line of thought is not to scare anyone or stress anyone out.  Rather, I hope that this will serve as motivation and incentive for applicants to make sure every element of their application is as refined and polished as it can be.

For all students out there who come from low to moderate income backgrounds, this ought to serve as encouragement.  Arguably the state of Virginia’s premier University has made it possible for you, and other students in your shoes, to obtain a degree at either low or no cost.

Keep this in mind as you go to meet with your school counselors to arrange your class schedule.

Keep this in mind when you come home exhausted from classes and extracurricular activities, and the last thing you feel like doing is homework or practicing for the SAT on Khan Academy.

Keep this in mind when you have exams to study for and papers to write, and you would rather go out with your friends or play Fortnite.

Edit: Making time for friends and leisurely activities is extremely important, but work first and play later.

Also, last but not least: do not forget to submit the FAFSA (and in the case of UVA, the CSS Profile).  UVA will not be able to give anyone financial aid, regardless of their financial status, if they do not fill out the corresponding applications.  According to BigFuture, More than 75% of the financial aid awarded to students admitted to UVA comes in the form of grants and scholarships.  Every student who applies to UVA, is admitted, and is judged to have need based on their FAFSA and CSS Profile submissions will receive financial aid.

If a student comes from a low to moderate income background, and does not apply for financial aid, UVA will not be able to award them any kind of financial aid, and this generous offer will not matter.  Therefore, filling out the FAFSA (and CSS Profile) is of the utmost importance.

For students who are in 9th or 10th grade and want to go to UVA, you have time to prepare.  I encourage you to capitalize on the University of Virginia’s generous offer to students who have demonstrated need.


All the Best,


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