Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges

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The Value and Impact of the fifteen
VFIC Member Schools
Students at Bridgewater College

Our 15 close-knit, residential schools TEACH…

  • … a broadly pragmatic liberal arts and sciences education.
    • Students learn critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration -- precisely the durable, transferable and flexible skills that businesses increasingly demand.
  • … in environments where ethical leadership and responsible citizenship are valued.
    • Small class sizes and ample clubs, community activities and collegiate and intramural athletics expand student leadership opportunities to develop skills inside and outside the classroom.
  • … needed Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.
    • Additionally, 13 of our member schools prepare new generations of teachers and 9 offer degrees in health-related professions.
  • … with award-winning faculty who continue a distinctive tradition of academic challenge.
    • Nine of the 14 Virginia chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s top honor society, are located at VFIC schools.

Our 15 independent schools REACH…

  • … racially, ethnically and globally diverse students and faculties.
    • VFIC schools enroll a higher percentage of first-generation and low-income students than four-year public schools.
    • Multicultural enrollment ranges as high as 43 percent.
    • On average, more than one student in every 5 at Virginia independent four-year college campuses is a student of color (21.6 percent).
  • … high-achieving students of all backgrounds who benefit from the experience.
    • VFIC member schools shatter the stereotypical image that independent colleges are reserved for the privileged, or an elite few.
    • A higher percentage of students at VFIC schools receive Pell Grants than at Virginia public institutions. These federal need-based awards made to low-income students promote access to education.
  • … faculty among the best in their fields.
    • In 26 years, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has recognized the classroom excellence of 55 men and women at VFIC schools with Outstanding Faculty Awards.

Our 15 competitive schools are

  • They educate students at minimal taxpayer cost.
    • Independent colleges in Virginia save the state as much as $66 million a year in tax dollars that otherwise would be needed to educate Virginia students at state schools.
    • The cost to the Commonwealth for each in-state student receiving a bachelor’s degree at independent colleges is $9,000, compared with $39,000 at public colleges.
    • VFIC member schools serve 24,019 undergraduates, saving Virginia the cost to build and operate a public university the size of Virginia Tech or Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • They invest in the promise of succeeding generations.
    • VFIC schools and other independent colleges in Virginia spend $450 million a year of their own resources in scholarships and grants.
    • 86% of students at VFIC schools receive generous aid packages.
    • With 5,000 bachelor’s degrees and 1,800 graduate and first professional diplomas awarded each year, our member colleges play an important role in the “Grow By Degrees” initiative to educate Virginia’s work force.
    • Undergraduates at VFIC colleges complete bachelor’s degrees in four years more often than students at public institutions in Virginia.
    • More than 115 graduate and professional degree programs serve 8,000 students. Two VFIC institutions have law schools. Four offer MBA programs. Nine provide master’s programs and three serve doctoral candidates with expanding programs in education, nursing, pharmacy and other subjects.
  • They contribute to a prosperous Commonwealth and to global awareness.
    • Not only are our member schools major employers in their communities, but their graduates add to the state’s vitality.
    • International students and faculty members and study-abroad programs raise cultural understanding and encourage tolerance and globalism.
    • Energy-saving and conservation programs at our member schools enhance and improve environmental stewardship.
Mary Baldwin College
Member Institutions
Bridgewater College
Emory & Henry College
Hampden-Sydney College
Hollins University
Lynchburg College
Mary Baldwin College
Marymount University
Randolph College
Randolph-Macon College
Roanoke College
Shenandoah University
Sweet Briar College
University of Richmond
Virginia Wesleyan College
Washington and Lee University

Wind Tunnel test at Sweet Briar College