Oct. 15-28, 2004
Back Issues
'Tremendous,' 'Smart,' 'Pragmatic'
Access UVa: The door's open
University presidents make the case for charter
Insurance costs going up, but health coverage to expand
Ann Lee Brown gives $10.5 million to U.Va.
Board in tune with U.Va.-Wise, thanks to Smiddy
Faculty Actions from the October BOV meeting
Thanks to Charlottesville families
Film festival examines reel 'Speed'
NYT columnist, others, to discuss election

Whiteness exhibit to open its only East Coast showing

Gies to speak at fall program
Taking stock of Virginia mountain streams


Access UVa: The door’s open
Alumnus Thomas stars in financial aid campaign
Sean Patrick Thomas
Sean Patrick Thomas is the face and voice of Access UVa.

By Dan Heuchert

Up-and-coming actor Sean Patrick Thomas will serve as the face and voice of the University’s new “Access UVa” financial aid program.

Thomas, a 1992 alumnus who himself received need-based financial aid while at U.Va., is featured in a series of radio and television public service announcements and print advertisements. The ads feature the theme, “If you’ve got the brains, but not the bucks, the door’s open. Access UVa makes it happen.”

Several current students — all financial aid recipients — appear alongside Thomas. Some will be spotlighted individually in print and Web advertisements.

The video spot made its debut Oct. 7 on “Hoovision,” Scott Stadium’s jumbo video screen, during U.Va.’s home football game against Clemson University (which it won 30-10), and during halftime of ESPN’s national telecast. The University’s Board of Visitors received a sneak preview of the video at their meeting Oct. 1.

A Chicago marketing firm, Storandt/ Pann/Margolis, masterminded the campaign. In the first wave of the marketing campaign, public service announcements will be aired during televised sporting events and across Virginia, with special focus on Southwestern Virginia, the Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads and some parts of Northern Virginia.

“ Originally, we had planned to target just key geographic areas,” said Carol Wood, assistant vice president for University relations. “But knowing that students who qualified for Access might live anywhere in the state, we looked at where the free- and reduced-lunch programs were, and discovered that 97 out of 135 counties are eligible. In fact, 32 percent of all middle- and high-school-age students in Virginia qualify to receive free or reduced lunches.

With that information, we decided to broaden our net.

“ It is these students —those who may not be applying to U.Va. because they believe it is not possible financially — that we want to reach.”

Board members enthusiastically approved the plan in February and determined that a major marketing push was vital to its success.
In addition to the media campaign, Dean of Admission John A. Blackburn and his staff have been traveling throughout the state to promote Access UVa.

Access UVa — how it works

There are four key components to Access UVa, which was unveiled in the spring.

First, beginning this year, it replaces need-based loans with grants in the financial aid packages of low-income students — those whose family income is equivalent to 150 percent of the federal poverty line or less.
Second, beginning next fall, it will cap the amount of need-based loans offered to any student, in-state or out-of-state, at approximately 25 percent of the anticipated four-year cost of attendance for an in-state student, and will meet all need above that amount with grants. “Cost of attendance” includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing, meals and personal expenses, and is calculated as $15,865 for the 2004-2005 school year.

Third, the plan meets 100 percent of demonstrated need for all undergraduate students. The Office of Student Financial Services offers any student who has financial need, and who is not low-income, a package of grants and loans equivalent to that amount.

Fourth, the plan includes college financing and debt management counseling for students and their families. Many families — low-income families in particular — find the financial aid application process daunting. Under Access UVa, Student Financial Services has added staff to offer additional one-on-one counseling to matriculating students and their families, assisting them in the financial aid application process and presenting them with financial options outside of need-based financial aid.

More information about Access UVa can be found online at www.virginia.edu/accessuva/, or by calling toll-free (866) 391-0063.



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