Press Release

WASHINGTON (February 5, 2014) — The Education Trust and I AM NOT A LOAN commend the University of Virginia (U.Va.) for announcing a new $8 million commitment to need-based financial aid. Included is a new scholarship program that will benefit incoming undergraduate students who show “exceptional promise and significant financial need.”

The news marks a victory for the nearly 9,000 student advocates and supporters who — over the past six months — have petitioned the University to reverse a rollback of its landmark financial aid program, AccessUVA, for students from low-income and working class families. A storm of student and alumni protest followed U.Va’s decision to replace previously promised levels of grant aid to prospective students from low-income families with loans equal to as much as $28,000 per student.

U.Va. alumnus and board member John Griffin kicked off the challenge grant effort with a sizable donation of $4 million to be matched by other donors with the goal of raising a total of $8 million. Two million dollars will go to a “new” Blue Ridge scholarship geared toward high-achieving undergraduate students with high financial needs, while the other $6 million will help build AccessUVA’s endowment

“I’m proud of John Griffin, proud of U.Va for their new commitment to grant aid for students from families with limited financial means, and most of all proud of students, alumni, and Virginia leaders who have rallied in support of need-based financial aid,” said Mary Nguyen Barry, U.Va alumna and a member of the Restore AccessUVA campaign.  “We do, however, need to be vigilant to ensure that the Commonwealth and the University remain dedicated to ensuring that cost does not inhibit deserving students from receiving a U.Va education.”

“U.Va’s actions to continue to provide aid for talented low-income students seeking a college degree are laudable — and we support the university’s efforts to seek additional funding for the challenge grant program,” said Ed Trust President Kati Haycock. “We hope that these new dollars will encourage the university to redouble its efforts to educate more hard-working Virginians from low-income families.”

This effort coincides with Virginia State Delegate Robert Krupicka’s (D-Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria) recent introduction of the ‘College For All’ bill in the Virginia General Assembly.  This legislation aims to provide increased grant aid to talented students from needy families.


The Education Trust is a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.

Launched by The Education Trust, I AM NOT A LOAN is backed by an array of national organizations and student-run groups. Each partner shares a common goal: to help raise student voices to demand a resolution to our nation’s student debt crisis.