|Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges|
"Securing Brighter Futures"
Donor Related Questions
Q: How would you define the unique roles of the VFIC and its colleges?
A: The VFIC is a strong statewide organization that raises money to support the 15 leading private colleges and universities in Virginia. These colleges, educating 29,000 students a year, provide small classes, low student-faculty ratios, personal attention to students, and a time-tested residential liberal arts and sciences experience - important and distinctive options compared to large public universities. Clearly, one of the VFIC’s fundamental purposes is to preserve Virginia’s small independent college sector as an option for students now and in the future.
Q: Why should an individual, corporation or foundation support the VFIC?
A: There is a statewide issue in play here. All Virginians, particularly our young men and women, benefit when the Commonwealth has a vibrant private college sector. The VFIC provides a central, convenient and effective way for donors to support private higher education throughout Virginia. The VFIC's approach is founded on the basic theory that a rising tide lifts all boats - so with one contribution, donors impact 15 colleges and universities statewide, benefiting thousands of young men and women simultaneously.
Q: Beyond academic programs, how else do the independent colleges benefit Virginia?
A: Economic development - these colleges are vital engines of commerce for their regions, with an overall economic impact of well over $1 billion to the state’s economy. Workforce development - each year, a high percentage of the graduates of VFIC colleges move directly intro business and professional careers here in Virginia. Quality of life - these colleges provide arts, cultural and educational opportunities for citizens of all ages in towns, cities and regions throughout the Commonwealth.
Q: How do the colleges use the VFIC money?
A: Donor designation is the key. Unrestricted gifts go to the colleges for them to use where needed most, generally to enhance educational programs. Gifts to the VFIC’s scholarship initiatives go to the colleges in the form of financial aid for need-based students. Donors also regularly support other VFIC programs designed to meet priority college needs, such as for libraries, undergraduate research, ethics programs, faculty grants and campus technology needs.
Q: Is the VFIC interested in gifts toward its endowment?
A: Yes. The VFIC’s traditional role is that of a pass-through organization, meaning that the majority of gifts are sought (and given) as part of an “annual fund” to flow directly to the colleges that year. But some donors wish to assure the permanent flow of funding to these colleges, and have established endowments at the VFIC. These named funds are invested, and five percent is drawn down each year to support the colleges. The advantage of these gifts is that the colleges can count on this support in perpetuity.
Q: How do I make a contribution to the VFIC?
Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
Contact Mary-Beth Johnson to request our Annual Report or other information.
Student Related Questions
Q: Independent schools are only for wealthy students, right?
A: Absolutely wrong. Over 72% of our 22,000 undergraduate students receive some financial aid. In fact, 28.7% qualify for the Federal Pell Grant Program. Although the average VFIC college tuition is $15,000, students who receive financial aid pay an average of only $3,000. Our schools make an effort to attract students from all income levels.
Q: So, this financial aid is both for students who have need, as well as for students whose academic records merit a scholarship?
A: That's right. Financial support to attend VFIC colleges is awarded both on the basis of demonstrated need as well as for merit. Each individual family's financial situation is different. All students interested in financial aid should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their level of need and to help the colleges determine the financial aid package which is appropriate for each student.
Q: Does the VFIC give scholarships directly to individual students?
A: No. Our distribution takes place in June of each year with money going to our member colleges. Scholarship recipients are selected by each member college's financial aid director, based on the criteria stipulated by to donor of the gift. (We do have 2 scholarships with separate application and selection processes). VFIC Scholarship dollars which go to the colleges are deposited into the student's individual account at the college and help underwrite tuition and fees. Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs.
Q: If I am a Virginia resident, isn't there a state grant available to me if I attend an independent college?
A: Yes, you're thinking about a TAG (Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant) award. See the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia for further information about the TAG program.
Q: How many minority students go to our colleges?
A: About 25% of the students who attend our 15 colleges are minorities. This includes African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, Asian and international students. Some individual colleges have a much higher percentage. Our institutions strive for diversity and want students from all ethnic backgrounds and income levels - each campus has numerous activities targeted to meet the interests of everyone.
Q: How can I get more information about each individual college and their admissions requirements and financial aid programs?
Q: Are there many different majors offered by VFIC colleges?
A: Yes, each college offers typical majors such as English, business, psychology and the sciences. VFIC colleges also offer a number of unique programs such as pharmacy, forestry, interior design, and sports and fitness administration.
Q: Do many students from states other than Virginia attend the VFIC colleges?
A: Yes, only 55% call Virginia home. The remaining 45% are from the other 49 states as well as many foreign countries. Check the statistical data to learn more statistics about our colleges.
Q: How many years does it take to obtain a degree from a VFIC college?
A: On average, four years. Each individual student's approach is different. Some students switch majors and have to take an extra semester of courses. A small percentage of students take courses part-time.
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