Free tuition at VUU will open doors for 25 hardworking Henrico students

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The home of the Panthers will be home to 25 hardworking Henrico students, with 100 percent of their tuition paid. HCPS is calling the new partnership with Virginia Union University one of the must robust in Henrico to date.

The district says this is a big deal for students not only because they’ll get a full ride — there’s a four-year-long mentorship component as well. “I think this is a really bright opportunity for Henrico County,” said Adrienne Cole Johnson, Chief of Family and Community Engagement for HCPS.

VUU is expanding its scholarship opportunities previously offered to some Richmond Public School students to include Henrico young adults as well. Cole Johnson said this is huge, especially for students who may not think going to college is within reach.

“Sometimes there’s students who may not have imagined the possibility that they could go to college,” she told 8News.

The 25 scholarships will be offered to current eighth grade students graduating in 2026. The scholarships won’t only pay for their college, but also give the incoming high school students four years of mentoring, summer college-readiness programs, and access to VUU facilities before the students even graduate high school. Students will still be responsible for costs like room and board.

“We’re hopeful that this just kind of removes another barrier to let them dream and explore a bit more,” Cole Johnson said.

Applications open on Nov. 1 and close on Dec. 17. A committee of VUU and Henrico administrators will select the 25 recipients. HCPS officials said several factors will be looked at when selecting the winners, including student needs.

“We will be looking at the total application. It is open to all Henrico county students. Of course we are encouraging students who, maybe their parents haven’t been to college so they would be first generation,” Cole Johnson said.

Additional factors that will be considered are as follows:

  • Extracurricular involvement.
  • Community involvement and leadership.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Essay questions.
  • A statement (written or recorded) about the student’s career aspirations and dreams. A written statement should be fewer than 500 words; a recorded statement should be three to five minutes long.
  • A student interview.
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from a teacher, counselor or other school staff member, and one from a community member not related to the applicant).
  • Additionally, the selection process will prioritize first-generation college attendees and strive for representation from Henrico County’s five magisterial districts.

Scholarship recipients will be announced in March 2022. For more information and to apply, go to www.henricoschools.us and look under “Hot Topics.”

A virtual family information session will be held Oct. 27 from 7-8 p.m. to learn more and ask questions. To attend, go to https://tinyurl.com/VUUHenricoScholarsProgram.

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