Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
Matthew D. Shank, Ph.D.
April 7, 2020
THE VIRGINIA FOUNDATION FOR INDEPENDENT COLLEGES CREATES $500,000 COVID-19 EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND FOR STUDENTS
(Richmond, Virginia – April 7, 2020) – The Executive Committee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) recently created the $500,000 COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund to provide short-term relief for undergraduate students at VFIC schools impacted financially by the pandemic. A leading proponent for private higher education in Virginia since 1952, the VFIC advances the distinctive values and strengths of its fifteen independent member colleges and universities. This emergency fund reflects the foundation’s determination to help students mitigate any adverse financial consequences resulting from the ongoing health care crisis.
“As events unfolded, our presidents cancelled athletic events, classes, graduation ceremonies; they wisely closed their schools for the academic year,” says Matt Shank, president of the VFIC. “Their quick action helped protect students. The quick response of our executive committee and staff has done the same.”
The following schools make up the VFIC’s consortium: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Mary Baldwin University, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Lynchburg, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Washington and Lee University. These schools educate more than 29,000 students, 24,000 of whom are undergraduates.
“The VFIC invited each of the fifteen schools in the consortium to submit proposals citing the financial needs they see among their students,” says Shank. “Based on strength of the requests, each school will receive the maximum $33,333 in funding to disburse among students by April 15.”
The emergency assistance funding must be used to support undergraduate students impacted financially by the crisis. Needs included covering the cost of shelter for foster, homeless, and international students when schools closed urgently or facilitating transportation for students to return home. Funds will also help students pay for packaging and shipping personal belongings home, as well as providing storage. Schools must use their funding by August 15, 2020. They must also submit a report indicating how they allocated their funds and the impact the money had on students.
“We believe that each day brings us closer to resolving the medical aspect of this crisis,” says Shank. “But the financial impact is another matter. Unexpected expenses, not to mention unanticipated unemployment, can have a long-term financial effect on students and their families, as well as the communities they call home. The VFIC intends to stand in the gap. Through this funding, we can create some financial stability in the lives of our students and encourage them to look to the future with hope.”
For more information, please contact Matt Shank, Ph.D., president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. You can reach him at 804.288.6609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
Established in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) aims to advance the distinctive values and strengths of the fifteen colleges across Virginia that make up our consortium. We accomplish this goal by generating financial support for our schools – more than $160 million since our inception. Leveraging those resources, we establish and administer a range of programs that help our schools attract the best and brightest, create a vibrant and rigorous educational experience, prepare students for a fulfilling career, and cultivate responsible leaders for the communities they call home.
The following schools make up our consortium: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Mary Baldwin University, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Lynchburg, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Washington and Lee University. These schools educate more than 29,000 students, 24,000 of whom are undergraduates. Of the fifteen chapters of Phi Beta Kappa in Virginia, nine reside on VFIC campuses. Twenty-nine percent of undergraduates from VFIC schools graduate with a STEM-H degree.
VFIC schools are racially, culturally, and economically diverse. According to research from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia on VFIC students, 30 percent come from minority backgrounds, 29 percent receive a Pell Grant, and 27 percent come from households with incomes of $40,000 or less. More than 23 percent of the students on our campuses fall into the first-generation category. With enrollments that range from 350 students to 3,500 students, our schools teach a broadly pragmatic liberal arts and sciences education in environments that value and encourage ethical leadership and responsible citizenship.