The University of Virginia Board of Visitors on Tuesday announced the authorization of the “Cornerstone Grant,” an initiative providing significant cost-of-attendance relief to qualifying middle-income, full-time Virginian undergraduate students.
The grant is part of a multiyear strategy to enhance access and affordability for in-state undergraduates at UVA, already recognized as one of the best values in higher education.
Here are a few question-and-answers regarding the new grant:
Q. What is the Cornerstone Grant?
A. The Cornerstone Grant is a new initiative that expands UVA’s financial aid program for qualifying, full-time undergraduate Virginia students from middle-income families.
Q. When will it go into effect?
A. The Cornerstone Grant initiative begins in fall 2017.
Q. Who is eligible for the Cornerstone Grant?
A. Eligibility for the grant requires satisfying certain criteria to be developed by the University and approved by the rector and vice rector, including having a family income from all sources of less than $125,000.
Beginning in fall 2017, qualifying first- and second-year Virginians from families with income of less than $125,000 who do not receive grants or scholarships from other sources will be eligible to receive a $2,000 Cornerstone Grant.
Qualifying third-year students from families with income of less than $125,000 who do not receive grants or scholarships from other sources will be eligible to receive a $1,000 grant.
In future years, qualifying new and continuing in-state students with family incomes of less than $125,000 will be eligible for the new grant. Students who attend part-time are not eligible for the grant.
Q. How will I know whether I am eligible for the grant?
A. Students who have applied for need-based financial aid and who are eligible will see the grant listed on their official financial aid award.
Q. Are students who receive non-UVA scholarships eligible for the Cornerstone Grant?
A. Yes. Students whose only source of financial assistance is non-UVA scholarship funds are eligible for the grant.
Q. Will all qualifying students receive the full amount of the grant?
A. Qualifying students will receive at least $2,000 in grant funding from University or other sources – such as a Pell Grant – and the Cornerstone Grant may make up part or all of that. A first- or second-year undergraduate student who receives a $1,000 Pell Grant, for example, and no other grant funding would be eligible for an additional $1,000 Cornerstone Grant, bringing their total grant funding to $2,000. A third-year undergraduate student with the same $1,000 Pell Grant, however, would not receive any additional grant funding.
Q. Will students have to fill out a separate application to receive the grant?
A. There is no separate application for the Cornerstone Grant outside the normal University financial aid application process.
Q. Is the grant only for tuition or can it be used toward other costs, like housing and books?
A. Proceeds from the Cornerstone Grant act like a cash payment and can be used to cover any billable charges the student has. If there is an overage from the grant funds after all other charges are paid, the student will receive a refund of those funds to be used for other education-related expenses.
Q. Will students receive the entire $2,000 at the start of the year?
A. Any grant amounts will be distributed evenly between the fall 2017 and the spring 2018 terms. The grant will not apply to summer session or January term charges.
Q. How is the University funding the Cornerstone Grant initiative?
A. Initial funding, estimated at $15 million over the next three years, will be provided by the University’s Strategic Investment Fund. After the initial three years, the funding will be built into the annual operating budget, to be funded by a combination of operational savings, private philanthropy and/or other private revenue sources.