UR also offers free tuition and room and board to residents of Virginia whose annual parental income is $60,000 or less through its “Richmond’s Promise to Virginia” program. The program ensures that those students will graduate without student loans.
In Virginia, women of color take on the most student debt, according to Tod Massa, the director of policy analytics at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Richmond Public Schools is made up of mostly Black students, and about half of Black female students from RPS opt to attend college, according to data from SCHEV.
“Black women … are often overproductive, overcommitted,” Massa said. “They’re trying to shine in a world that’s dominated by white blond women and their desires. And so, to get through college, you do whatever you have to do. And you’ll accumulate debt along the way because you want to graduate.”
Superintendent Jason Kamras said that he’s heard stories of students from RPS saying they wouldn’t consider UR because of the price, but now the No Loan program opens a world of possibilities.
“Pretty much everyone says they’re in support of equity until you start talking about money. Then suddenly you realize whether folks are serious or not,” he said. “I really applaud President Crutcher, because he’s serious about equity and put some real dollars on the table to advance equity.”