VSU launches no-cost tuition initiative for qualified high school seniors

Free Press staff report | 2/4/2021, 6 p.m.
A federal Pell Grant will be all 300 qualified high school seniors in Richmond and other nearby localities must have ...
Dr. Abdullah

A federal Pell Grant will be all 300 qualified high school seniors in Richmond and other nearby localities must have financially to enroll as full-time students at Virginia State University in the fall.

VSU officials announced Monday a pilot initiative to admit students who qualify for the federal grant but cannot afford the additional cost the university usually charges for tuition.

The university is undertaking the initiative as a leader in the Virginia College Affordability Network that seeks to address financial barriers to entry and to completion of college degrees.

To qualify for the free tuition, students would need to meet VSU admission requirements; be eligible for the Pell Grant provided to full-time students, which is based on family income; have a request for federal student financial aid on file with VSU; be an entering first-time freshman for the fall 2021 semester; and live within 25 miles of VSU. According to the university, that includes students who live in Richmond, Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights and the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George.

Students admitted through the initiative would need to complete 30 or more credit hours per year and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.

VSU said priority would go to students living in Petersburg, Colonial Heights and the Matoaca area of Chesterfield County.

According to online information, VSU currently charges in-state students $4,577 a semester in tuition and fees, or a total of $9,154 to attend full-time for the fall and spring semesters. That total is $2,809 more than the maximum Pell Grant of $6,345 per year.

Under the initiative, VSU would agree to accept the student’s Pell grant as full payment of tuition costs and also would waive a portion of the room and board that currently totals $11,544 for a full year. The student would need to pay the rest of the room and board cost to stay on campus.

“This initiative directly aligns with our strategic plan as it allows us to directly impact students who dream of access to a quality four-year university, yet lack financial resources to attend,” stated VSU President Makola M. Abdullah.

Details: VSU Office of Admissions, (804) 524-5902.