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Three Virginia delegates oppose AccessUVA cuts

Krupicka, Lopez and Surovell author open letter to Rector Martin

Three members of the Virginia House of Delegates, Rob Krupicka, D-Alexandria; Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington; and Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax County, wrote a letter Oct. 9 to Rector George Martin of the University Board of Visitors to object to cuts to AccessUVa.

The Board voted in August to end AccessUVa’s all-grant financial aid to students, replacing portions of that financial aid with subsidized loans.

The letter advises the Board to reconsider its decision to include loans in every financial aid package due to the burden it could place on low-income students.

“Such a debt load will almost certainly deter some deserving students from attending U.Va. or making it to graduation day; for others it will limit the options available to them upon graduation,” the delegates said in the letter.

The delegates said the AccessUVa program has allowed many students to receive an education at a high level institution that would have otherwise been unavailable. “In turn, those students are better prepared to change the lives of their communities, workplaces, and our Commonwealth,” the letter said.

Krupicka said he feels the AccessUVa program must be maintained for the benefit of the University and for students.

“AccessUVa is a great program and U.Va. is a real leader in putting that program forward,” Krupicka said. “Essentially it’s designed so that low income students don’t graduate with too much debt.”

Krupicka said the program is essential for low-income students to be able to graduate, provide for their families and provide for the commonwealth, but he also acknowledged the financial difficulties that the University faces.

“I certainly support more state funding and the creation of a state program to help students in other colleges around the commonwealth,” Krupicka said.

The changes to AccessUVa will save the University an estimated $6 million annually and will be rolled into effect in the next four years, starting with the class of 2018.

Members of the Board of Visitors declined to comment.