Student financial assistance funds to double in upcoming year

Junelynn Tran

Staff Writer

For the 2010-2011 academic year, VCU’s ongoing funds for student financial assistance will receive a $4.8 million increase due to tuition increases, nearly doubling the existing funds.

Approximately $45.4 million is available for financial aid, more than 21 percent from the last school year.

More than $20.5 million for student financial assistance is appropriated by state funds. The money goes toward providing scholarships and fellowships through the Virginia Student Financial Assistance Program and the College Scholarship Assistance Program. The amount of money is the same as last year.

More than $24.8 million for student financial assistance is appropriated by federal funds. The money goes towards federal work-study, and grants and scholarships, such as Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grants (SMART) and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants. The amount of money has almost doubled since last year.

The Pell Grant Program is expected to increase, allowing an individual to receive a maximum Pell Grant award of $5,550, a $200 increase. An increase of 29 percent of the VCU student body qualify for the Pell Grant.

There is a projected increase in the ACG and SMART grants, due to the increase in students who qualify for the Pell Grant and the program expansion. The criteria for the ACG and SMART grants expanded to allow part-time students and eligible non-citizens to receive funding.

VCU will also fund an additional $43 million in need-based aids, scholarships, fellowships, tuition waivers and graduate student wages within other university programs – totaling $88.4 million for student financial assistance.

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