Week Highlights Private Colleges’ Affordability, Accessibility

July 22, 2009

Tuition at a private college is too expensive. A student at a private college will receive less financial assistance from government sources. Middle-class families can’t afford a private education.

These are some of the most common statements about private colleges and universities. Next week, hundreds of prospective students will discover why they are misconceptions during programs at Mary Baldwin University and dozens of institutions across the Commonwealth.

During Virginia Private College Week (VPCW) July 27–August 1, 25 colleges will sponsor tours and programs to introduce potential students to campus life, academic options, and the more technical aspects of application and admission. Sessions are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday–Friday, and 9 a.m. Saturday.

Mary Baldwin, a participant in VPCW for many years, will offer student-guided campus tours, individual conversations with admissions counselors, and other specific information that tailors the visit for each attendee, said Roberta Palmer, director of admissions. Prospective students will also learn about the college’s new Leadership Gateways designed to focus their transition to college and be encouraged to return for an overnight visit when classes are in session, she said.

More than 70,000 students attend private colleges in Virginia, and in-state residents are eligible for up to $3,000 annually through the Tuition Assistance Grant, according to an official VPCW proclamation from the governor.

Brochures, Web sites, and phone and email conversations with representatives at a college are helpful, but nothing compares to walking the paths, sitting in the desks, and feeling the energy of the place where you could spend the next four formative years.

Need added incentive? Students who visit at least three institutions during the week will receive three application fee waivers that they can use to apply to any school in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia — which sponsors the program — at no cost.

For more information and a list of participating colleges, visit www.virginiaprivatecolleges.org.