The University recently signed a contract with the Posse Foundation to begin recruiting scholars from its veterans program. The University will select 10 scholars who will enroll as first-year students in the fall of 2018.
The Posse Foundation places public high school students who may be overlooked by the traditional college selection process in multicultural teams — posses — of 10 students to encourage academic and personal success. Posse scholars are awarded four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships by the colleges and universities partnered with the foundation.
Dean of Admissions Greg Roberts said the University's positive pre-existing relationship with Posse helped lead to the decision to recruit from the veterans program as well.
“The University already has a relationship with Posse,” Roberts said. “This is a national organization that does an exceptional job of working with underserved populations in their college search process.”
The Posse Veterans Program was launched in 2012 in partnership with Vassar College to specifically focus on post-9/11 U.S. veterans. The president of Vassar College at the time suggested the program to Deborah Bial, the president and founder of the Posse Foundation, to address the vast underrepresentation of veterans on campus.
Bial said she is excited for the expansion of the relationship between Posse and the University.
“We’re thrilled because a campus as impressive and elite and … dynamic as U.Va. is one that we want to offer … to the Posse vets,” Bial said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily.
According to Bial, there are several million post-9/11 U.S. veterans living in the United States today, many of whom have not gone to college for a variety of reasons.
“When they do decide to go back to get their college degree, a lot of them aren’t picking schools like Vassar or U.Va. or Dartmouth,” Bial said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to connect some of the most elite institutions of higher education to men and women who served this country? Why wouldn’t we want them on our campuses?”
Roberts said recruiting from the veterans program follows the University’s firm support for veterans.
“U.Va. has always had a strong commitment to veterans,” Robert said. “We felt like this was a perfect fit because it was in line with our mission and values and it allowed us to expand on an already productive relationship with an impressive organization like Posse.”
The University will join Dartmouth College, Wesleyan University and Vassar College as the only institutions to recruit scholars from the Posse Veteran Program.
The Posse Foundation has chapters in 10 cities across the United States and is partnered with 57 colleges and universities nationwide. The University became a partner in 2013 when it began recruiting from the Posse chapter in Houston.
Bial acknowledged the role University President Teresa Sullivan has made in creating and continuing the University’s relationship with Posse and also praised her and incoming President James Ryan’s focus on educational opportunities for all students.
“Teresa Sullivan and Jim Ryan … are two people very dedicated to equity in higher education,” Bial said. “I admire their leadership and their commitment to expanding opportunity for students and the vets program is one way to do that.”
According to Roberts, Posse will send the University applications from 20 scholars they believe would be good fits at the University. University admissions will select 10 scholars from the original 20 to enroll as first-year students next fall and receive a full tuition scholarship.
Roberts said he thinks incoming students from veterans program have the potential to make strong contributions to the University.
“These are students who have served their country, who are non-traditionally aged, they’re a little bit older, but they have life experiences that are unlike most first-year students,” Roberts said. “So in that way, I think they add to our community, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom … It’s quite exciting to work with this group.”