Bookstore to donate profits to AccessUVa
Surplus averages $250,000 annually
The University Bookstore will donate all its profits directly to AccessUVa, the University’s flagship financial aid program, starting April 13.
“Because of our mission to support the students, as of Founder’s Day, all profits from the U.Va. Bookstore will be going directly to support AccessUVa and U.Va. students directly,” said Jeff Kennedy, the bookstore’s marketing manager, in an email.
The launch — on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, known locally as Founder’s Day — will coincide with an event to inform the University student body about the efforts being taken to support AccessUVa.
Because the bookstore’s financial surplus is invested back into the University, it is technically a non-profit organization. For the past 20 years, the bookstore’s profits have been sent to an unrestricted endowment called the Endowment for Excellence to be used at the University’s discretion, said University Bookstore Executive Director Jon Kates.
“I think some of [the bookstore’s] profits did go to AccessUVa,” he said. “It has been used for need-based scholarships, it’s been used for study abroad, it’s been used for enhancement of faculty salaries.”
Kates said after the large community backlash to the Board of Visitors’ decision to require all AccessUVa recipients to take out loans as part of their aid packages, he decided to request permission to direct all of the bookstore’s profits toward the program.
“Based upon information that we all received about AccessUVa’s importance, I decided to request from the administration the ability to offer all of our economic surplus [profits] directly to AccessUVa because of the importance of the initiative,” he said.
Last summer, the Board introduced need-based loans to low-income students for the first time, capped at $14,000 for in-state students and $28,000 for out-of-state students.
The University Bookstore’s annual profit, according to Kates, has been roughly $250,000 per year.
“Rather than direct this into an endowment where there would be multiple uses, we really wanted to get behind AccessUVa, since it’s an initiative we so believe in,” Kates said.
Though permission for this project was granted more than a month-and-half ago, according to Kates, other details remain in flux.