Feb. 13-26, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 3
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
A Bold Plan
Turner: ‘The journey continues’
Raising the Bar
Headlines @ U.Va.
Research yields insight into working families
Team designs computer model to predict pathways of blood vessels
Yvonne Hubbard levels the playing field
Board discusses diversity, tuition and more
Faculty Actions
‘Traditions of Exemplary Women’
U.Va. Health System reaches out to uninsured
Linda Layne discusses pregnancy, feminism and health
Poet-critic Alan Williamson here as Rea Visiting Writer
‘Dada DJ’ and friends spin the vinyl Feb. 17
Manned Mars missions on the horizon
Yvonne Hubbard levels the playing field
Sees role of her office as making a U.Va. education affordable for all students
Yvonne Hubbard
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Yvonne Hubbard (right) served as an
architect of the bold financial aid plan for
undergraduate students — Access UVa —
just approved by the Board of Visitors.

By Elizabeth Kiem

As director of student financial services, Yvonne Hubbard is responsible for helping make ends meet for nearly 13,000 U.Va. undergraduates every year — a quarter of whom require some form of aid to cover the cost of their education. Hubbard has achieved a certain fame for her mastery over the complexities of tuition calculations, but from her view, financial aid has less to do with balancing an equation in a financing formula than it does about leveling the playing field.

“It’s important for the University to offer equal access” to all students, said Hubbard. Even though the University of Virginia is consistently ranked a “best value” school by U.S. News & World Report, the current estimated $14,500 annual cost for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, meals and living expenses can be daunting to low-income students, or to middle-income students with demonstrated financial need. “I can’t say to the population, ‘I’m sorry, we’ve just priced you out.’”

The aim of the financial aid office, as Hubbard sees it, is to make a U.Va. education affordable, regardless of the ability of a student to pay. And one way to make education more affordable for students, she believes, is to reduce student debt.

To that end, Hubbard served as an architect of the bold financial aid plan for undergraduate students —Access UVa — just approved by the Board of Visitors.

“We know that students make [career] decisions based on how much debt they’re in and how much choice they perceive that they have when they enter the workforce,” Hubbard said. By having less of a debt burden when they graduate, undergraduates can consider graduate school or public-service jobs that they might otherwise have felt obliged to forgo.

Hubbard was a champion of equal opportunity long before she arrived at the top office in Carruthers Hall. Shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan in the 1970s, she joined the U.S. Air Force and became the first enlisted female at Gila Bend Air Force Base in Arizona. She was trained as an electronic warfare repairperson and operator, maintaining radar and flight equipment and playing the role of virtual MIGs during war games.

“I drove 40-foot flatbeds and 15-ton wreckers and built stuff to be bombed,” she recalled. “It was what taught me that given time and opportunity I really could learn anything.”

Hubbard was neither the first nor last in her family to join the military. Her father was at Pearl Harbor; her brother served in Vietnam; and her son, Jason, has recently re-enlisted in the Marines, serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While the most tangible reminder of her time in the Air Force can be seen in her home plumbing and electrical system, which she maintains herself, Hubbard says there’s a clear connection between her first job and her current job.

“I really firmly believe in universal service, whether it’s military service or community service or the Peace Corps,” she said. “I love working for the government. I feel useful, and I love doing a good job for the public.”

Hubbard moved to Virginia in 1979 and worked as a social worker for Fluvanna County before taking a job with the administrative computing department attached to financial aid. By 1995 she was a project manager who was tapped by Bill Harmon, then vice president for student affairs, to be an interim director of financial aid.

“It was a huge jump,” she said, adding, “I think I’ve earned it, and I hope I’ve lived up to it.”

Eight years and a permanent position later, Hubbard has overseen several important landmarks for U.Va. financial aid. She effected the transition to direct loans for the University, helping to eliminate the era of “arena registration.” She ushered in the policy of meeting 100 percent of an undergraduate student’s demonstrated financial need, a policy that achieves full implementation this fall. She also reorganized the way financial services are presented to the student body through the creation of the two-year-old Cavalier Central, reduced redundancies in bureaucracies, and hired a public relations specialist.

“Yvonne is a great process person with a nice blend of productivity and humanity,” said Pat Lampkin, interim vice president for student affairs.
Steve Kimata, the vice president for finance and University comptroller and Hubbard’s direct supervisor, says it is her passion for the students that sets her apart.

“She’s always looking to do the best thing for the student and is aware of how financial aid is a critical component of the student experience,” he said.


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