The University’s support of first-generation students has earned the University of Mary Washington recognition by ScholarMatch, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that helps to make higher education possible for low-income youth by providing free college counseling services.
The University is one of 375 higher education institutions recognized on the ScholarMatch 2018 College Honor Roll for going above and beyond to provide support and opportunities for first-generation and low-income students.
About one-third of UMW’s undergraduates are first-generation students, including nearly 400 freshmen. Mary Washington has numerous resources to assist those students, including the inaugural First-in-Family Student Program that provides support and guidance to help first-generation students maintain success throughout their college tenure.
In addition, the Student Transition Program offers year-long support to selected freshmen students, and the Rappahannock Scholars Program, a partnership with six high schools in Virginia’s Northern Neck region, mentors and gives encouragement and financial support to academically talented, resource-deprived students, making it possible for them to attend college.
Since its inception, the program has maintained an 80 percent graduation rate among scholars. More than one third of the graduates further their educations at institutions like Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech and George Mason.
“Because of the program, I have not only been able to attend the University of Mary Washington, I’ve been able to excel here,” said former Rappahannock Scholar Samantha St. John ’18, a biology graduate who says she wouldn’t have gone to college without the program. “It has given me all the tools and support to make the most of my college experience. I am proud not only to be an Eagle, but also to be a Scholar.”
Each year, ScholarMatch, founded by author Dave Eggers, analyzes 1,400 U.S. colleges and universities using public college data and information from the College Scorecard to determine which schools offer the most supportive environments for students whose families earn less than $50,000 per year. They publish their findings on their College Honor Roll, recognizing the schools that are offering robust student support and are achieving excellent outcomes for this student population.
ScholarMatch features the schools on its College Honor Roll in their college search tool, ScholarMatcher, a free interactive tool built specifically to help underserved student populations find their best fit college in just a few simple clicks.