$100 Million Fund Expands UVA’s Commitment to Student Scholarships

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors today approved an investment of $100 million in strategic funds to support new student scholarships through UVA’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund.

This is the second $100 million investment that the board has designated for matching scholarships from the University’s Strategic Investment Fund. The first, approved in December 2016, was fully matched by donors for new scholarships in only 18 months.

Between new gifts and matching funds, the initial Scholars Fund investment resulted in $212 million for endowments, whose earnings will support more than 140 scholarships that will benefit hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students annually.

The money approved this week will be used in the University’s current campaign to provide matching funds for new scholarship endowments at UVA and UVA’s College at Wise that increase access and affordability for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, and for new merit-based scholarships.

“In order to build a diverse, vibrant community at UVA, we need to make it easier for talented students to come here, regardless of their ability to pay,” UVA President James E. Ryan said. “These scholarships created through the Bicentennial Scholars Fund will make a difference as we work to serve the commonwealth and beyond.”

“The incredible response of those who support access and affordability at the University of Virginia helped us realize the full potential of the initial allotment for the Bicentennial Scholars Fund in remarkable time,” said John A. Griffin, chair of the Board of Visitors Advancement Committee and founding donor of the Blue Ridge Scholars program. “The scholarships created through this program will change lives for the better for decades to come.”

Support for the Bicentennial Scholars Fund and a newly created Bicentennial Professors Fund helped propel the University to record fundraising results for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Commitments to UVA during the 2018 fiscal year were a record $556.5 million, according to Vice President for Advancement Mark Luellen.

In 2017, the board also approved $95 million in strategic funds for the Bicentennial Professors Fund, which provides matching funds in support of creating endowed professorships.

The new, $100 million investment in the Bicentennial Scholars Fund – announced during the Board of Visitors’ retreat held Friday and Saturday in Arlington – emphasizes a deeper focus on matching opportunities for endowments supporting scholarships for undergraduate students with financial need. The matching guidelines are:

  • Contributions of $1 million or more for need-based, undergraduate scholarship endowments that are fully paid within five years, at UVA or the UVA College at Wise, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bicentennial Scholars Fund.
  • Contributions of $100,000 or more ($50,000 for Wise) for new endowments fully paid within five years will be matched $1 for each $2 in gift funding for new endowments supporting need- and merit-based scholarships, those for student-athletes and those for graduate students.

Through its AccessUVA financial aid program, the University already commits to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of all undergraduate students. Matching programs that grow private gifts in support of scholarships help advance the University’s efforts to eventually transition all need-based financial aid from sources that currently include tuition and other funds to being fully funded by philanthropy.

Media Contact

Anthony P. de Bruyn

University Spokesperson Office of University Communications