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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeCommunitySchoolsUVI Free Tuition Scholarships Now Available for Part-Time, Online Students

UVI Free Tuition Scholarships Now Available for Part-Time, Online Students

University of the Virgin Islands graduation banner (Submitted photo)

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is excited to announce that part-time and online students are now eligible for the Free Tuition Scholarship program thanks to new legislation that expands eligibility criteria to include more Virgin Islands residents seeking their first undergraduate degree. In addition, new UVI policies have been implemented to help students maximize financial aid through the scholarship program and other supplemental sources, including federal, private and local awards. New students are encouraged to apply to UVI now for the 2024 fall semester.

“We are extremely pleased with the recent legislation that makes it possible for more Virgin Islanders to achieve their dream of a college education,” said UVI President David Hall. “I would like to thank members of the 35th Legislature for their support and specifically Sen. Samuel Carrión for sponsoring Act No. 8814 that extends the free tuition benefits to a wider population. Furthermore, I would like to recognize the important role of the UVI Board of Trustees in making the necessary policy and procedural changes quickly so that students can take advantage of the benefits right away.”

To qualify for the Free Tuition Scholarship, students must be graduates of a USVI high school they attended for three or more years; have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher in high school; be seeking their first undergraduate degree (associate or bachelor’s); enroll as at least a part-time (six or more hours per semester) student; and be a current resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Students are eligible whether they graduated from a private, public or parochial high school, regardless of age, graduation date or household income.

“The new legislation opens the door to so many Virgin Islands residents for whom part-time or online studies are the only viable option due to work schedules or family obligations,” said Louis Gaubatz, vice provost of Enrollment Management at UVI. “This is an incredible opportunity, especially for individuals already in the workforce looking to earn a college degree and advance their careers. “We are also encouraging current students to contact the Registrar’s office or a member of the enrollment team to check for eligibility under the expanded criteria.”

An important aspect of the UVI policy changes is how the Free Tuition Scholarship is administered. When an eligible student applies to UVI, the UVI Office of Financial Aid will now apply the Free Tuition Scholarship funding first towards the cost of tuition. If students require supplemental financial aid to cover expenses such as room and board, books and other fees, that financial aid, whether federal (FAPSA), private or local awards, will be applied after the Free Tuition Scholarship funding.

“This is an important policy change that essentially allows students to maximize the financial aid they receive to cover as many college-related expenses as possible,” explained Gaubatz. “Since the Free Tuition Scholarship program covers strictly tuition, students can unlock the ‘Plus’ part of the program by applying for federal aid through the FAFSA, to cover non-tuition expenses. And students who, for whatever reason, do not want to apply for financial aid, can still receive the Free Tuition scholarship.”

The program, also known as the Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship program, was created through a legislative act introduced by Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach while serving as senator in the 32nd Legislature. Signed into law in 2019, the Free Tuition Scholarship is funded by the V.I. government to make attending college more affordable for more Virgin Islands residents. The ensuing Act No. 8814, which expands eligibility criteria, was passed in April 2024.

For more information about the Free Tuition Scholarship program, visit https://freetuition.uvi.edu. To apply to UVI, visit www.uvi.edu. For more information or to apply to UVI Online, visit www.online.uvi.edu.

For media inquiries, contact pr@uvi.edu.

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