school students can waive their college application fees if they tour three private
colleges during Virginia Private College Week, which will be held July 27 through
August 1, 2009. Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, along with 24 other
private colleges belonging to the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV),
are joining together to sponsor a statewide series of free campus open houses and
information sessions on admissions and financial aid for secondary school students
and their families.
Students who visit three or more campuses during Virginia Private College Week will
receive application fee waivers at any three CICV institutions. With application
fees ranging from $25 to $50, students could save as much as $150. Last year, nearly
2,447 prospective students and parents visited CICV colleges during Virginia Private
“Virginia Private College Week is an opportunity for students and parents to see
firsthand the quality, diversity and affordability of private colleges in the Commonwealth,”
said Robert R. Lindgren, president of Randolph-Macon College.
R-MC director of admissions and enrollment research, Anthony Ambrogi added, “We
encourage alumni, parents, and friends to become ambassadors by inviting prospective
students and their families to visit R-MC and learn the real value of a private,
liberal arts education.”
Virginia private colleges gave students more than $270 million in scholarships and
grants last year. Also, in-state students attending a Virginia private college are
eligible to receive the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) for a maximum of four years.
This year’s grant is approximately $3,000 and is not based on need or merit.
Admission and financial aid informational sessions, along with campus tours, will
be offered at each of the participating colleges at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through
Friday and at 9 a.m. at most of the colleges on Saturday, August 1. College officials
will also address some common myths about the cost of a private college education.
Common Myths about a Private College Education
1. Myth: Tuition at a private college is too expensive, and a state school always
Reality: Many students pay considerably less than the published tuition price at
a private college. The difference between public and private college tuition is
far less than many families assume, thanks to significant merit and need-based grants
and the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). Last year, private colleges awarded nearly
$300 million in grants and scholarships.
2. Myth: It’s difficult for a middle-class family to afford a private college education.
Reality: Now more than ever, private colleges are protecting their financial aid
budgets and enrolling students from all income levels. In fact, national studies
have shown that, on average, students attending private colleges have a similar
family income as those attending public colleges. In Virginia, private colleges
enroll a higher percentage of federal Pell Grant recipients (typically students
from families with incomes of $40,000 or less) and minority students than public
3. Myth: There will be less assistance from government sources.
Reality: For more than 30 years, Virginia residents attending a private college
in the Commonwealth have received a Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) from
the state. TAG is not based on need or merit and is available for four years at
the undergraduate level. The state budget passed by lawmakers earlier this year
provides for a $3,000 TAG award in 2009-10. In addition, while the credit crunch
is limiting the availability of private loans, federal loans and grants are unlikely
to be affected by the recession.
4. Myth: Public or private college – it doesn’t make any difference.
Reality: Parents should compare the time it takes to graduate as well as overall
graduation rates, class size, student/faculty ratio, and personal attention received
by students. Private colleges will rank favorably. In today’s competitive marketplace,
the benefits of graduating from a private liberal arts college are more valuable
than ever. Students learn to think critically, analytically, and creatively and
to communicate well – attributes sought by employers in all professions.
For more information about Virginia Private College Week, contact the CICV at (540)
586-0606 or click on Private College Week. The admissions offices of participating
colleges and universities also can provide details. The Admissions Office at Randolph-Macon
College can be reached at www.rmc.edu or 1-800-888-1762. In addition, register online
to visit R-MC during Virginia Private College Week at www.rmc.edu/Admissions/comevisit.aspx.
Colleges participating in the event include:
On Thursday, July 23, 2009, Lindgren conducted an interview on CBS/WTVR Channel
6 in Richmond, Va.