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UR Launches Grant Program for RPS Students

University of Richmond campus
University of Richmond campus file photo. (Photo: Alex Scribner/VPM News)

*VPM News intern Clara Haizlett reported this story.

The University of Richmond is launching a grant program to aid Richmond Public School graduates called the "No Loan Program."

Depending on the student’s demonstrated financial need, grants could cover the full cost of attendance, which can be up to $72,000 per year at the private university. 

That includes tuition, fees, room and board, textbooks, and personal expenses. 

Stephanie Dupaul, vice president for enrollment management at UR, says this program has been in the works for several years. It was finalized in the past couple of weeks, in large part due to the efforts of RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras and university President Ronald Crutcher.  

"It just really picked up an incredible speed through the energy of those two leaders," she said. 

Dupaul says the program is supported by a reallocation of existing university funds, not external donors.

"We have an endowment that’s very well managed," she said. "That allows us to shift resources to reflect our priorities, and this is a priority for us."

Dupaul says the program does not have a cap on the number of students it will serve and its duration is indefinite. 

Current UR students who are RPS graduates can also apply to the program. 

Kamras says the program removes the barrier of entry for students with financial needs. 

"The word equity gets thrown around a lot in education, but real equity requires real dollars," he said.  "I think this was an example where they really stepped up and put the dollars behind it."

Kamras says that without this program, many RPS students might not consider UR because of the cost. 

"It's really hard to be motivated to think about college, when you feel like there's no way you could ever pay for it," he said. 

He says this program opens the door for RPS students to pursue higher education, while also strengthening the Richmond community. 

"To have a pipeline of students from RPS going to Richmond institutions, and then staying here and investing their education back in the community is really powerful." 

To be eligible, RPS seniors are encouraged to apply to University of Richmond by Jan. 1 for fall 2021.