Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University


Situated in Richmond, Virginia’s capital city since 1779, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) continues to grow in size, programs and students. With more than 31,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, the university offers prestigious programs that have developed the university into an institution with an international reputation. The university enrolls students in 208 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-five of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of Virginia Commonwealth University’s 13 schools and one college. Since its founding, the university has combined the traditional and nontraditional, creating diversity in our academic programs, campus events, students, faculty and staff.

Programs Supporting First-Generation College Students

Pre-College Prep & Outreach Primeros Pasos (First Steps)

Primeros Pasos is a one-day program designed to provide Latino high school students and their families with an overview of the college experience and opportunities in higher education. Virginia Commonwealth University students, parents, administrators, faculty and alumni participate throughout the day sharing their experiences with higher education. Activities include a bilingual workshop for parents regarding financial aid and scholarships, a panel discussion with university students from the Latino community, conversations with undergraduate admissions counselors, and campus tours. Learn more about Primeros Pasos (First Steps)

Pre-College Summer Experience Summer Scholars

The Summer Scholars program is an exciting five-week program that gives first-generation students a head start on their path to VCU, graduation, and beyond. Summer Scholars take two classes, earn credits, and build a group of close friends before starting their first semester in the fall. In addition to taking classes, students go on day excursions on the weekends, for example, they go on a white water rafting trip just a couple short miles away from campus. Students enrolled in the program will stay in a residence hall and in this living/learning environment, they will begin to build a sense of community in their new school and their new home. Learn more about Summer Scholars

Scholarship & Financial Aid Altria Scholars

The Altria Scholars program, designed for high-achieving, first-generation students with high financial need, is funded by the Altria Group. The program provides first- and second-year School of Business and School of Engineering students access to a Progress Coach, with whom they work closely toward their academic and personal success. Altria Scholars also allots scholarships to first-generation junior and senior business and engineering students who meet eligibility requirements. Those students who were active Altria Scholars during their first and second years and meet eligibility requirements receive priority when awarding scholarships.

First-Year Experience & Transition First-Gen Fridays

Once a month during the academic year, first-generation students, faculty, staff, and administrators gather to learn from campus leaders about resources that support student success. In addition to learning about these opportunities, students are able to meet other first-gen students and network with faculty, staff, and administrators who were also the first in their family to graduate from a four-year institution. These gatherings offer understanding, support, and encouragement. Learn more about First-Gen Fridays

Scholars & Leadership Acceleration Program

Students admitted into the Acceleration Program begin college with an on-campus, four-week summer enrichment program which exposes them to a pre-health-specific math and science curriculum. Students participate in internships in various clinical health service provider settings and receive a stipend. Students are expected to commit to 50 hours of volunteer work per year in community health provider settings and receive specialized, career-related academic advising and support services throughout the program.

Academic Advising & Support TRIO Student Support Services

TRiO, a federally funded program, provides career workshops, Enhanced academic advising, one-on-one tutoring, peer mentoring and a lot more. Learn more about TRIO Student Support Services

Academic Advising & Support Campus Learning Center

Providing quality academic support to all VCU undergraduates. Learn more about Campus Learning Center

Academic Advising & Support Writing Cetner

Providing peer-based support to help VCU students become the strongest writers possible. Learn more about Writing Cetner

Academic Advising & Support University Academic Advising

Helping first-year, undeclared, nondegree-seeking and pre-health professions students develop and pursue their educational goals. Learn more about University Academic Advising

Student Life & Support Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA)

A resource for students, faculty and staff, the VCU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs works towards the primary mission of assisting traditionally underserved and/or underrepresented student populations (i.e. race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender) through advising, support, program development, retention, and mentoring, as well as by promoting an appreciation of diversity throughout the campus community. Learn more about Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA)

Student Diversity

  • 24,051
  • 41/57
  • n/a
    First-generation college students
  • <1%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 12%
  • 16%
    Black or African American
  • 7%
  • <1%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 51%
  • 5%
    Two or more races
  • 4%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 5%

Student Success

  • 87%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 62%
    Six-year graduation
  • n/a
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • 83%
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 25%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 3,106
    Full-time faculty
  • 627
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 16:1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Visual and Performing Arts, Psychology, Business, Health Professions, Homeland Security

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    African Student Union, Black Caucus, Filipino Americans Coming Together, Indian Student Association, Latino Student Association, NAACP at VCU, Vietnamese Student Association, Persian American Students, Caribbean Student Organization


Cost of Attendance

  • $32,347
  • $13,190
    In-state Tuition
  • n/a
    Required Fees
  • $9,919
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • $70,029,819
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $10,900
    Average aid package
  • $32,411
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • 29%
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • 71%
    Students with financial need
  • 59%
    Students with need awarded financial aid
  • 43%
    Students with need awarded need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • 6%
    Students with need whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 17,177
    # of applicants
  • 64%
  • 3.60
    Average HS GPA
  • 26
    ACT Composite
  • 500—610
    SAT Critical Reading
  • 490—590
    SAT Math
  • n/a—n/a
    SAT Writing
  • yes
    SAT/ACT optional


  • 1/15
    Regular application closing date
  • $65
    Application Fee
  • $65
    Application Fee (online)
  • yes
    Fee waiver for applicants with financial need
  • n/a
    Early decision plan
  • n/a
    Early decision application closing date
  • n/a
    Early action plan
  • n/a
    Early action application closing date