High school graduates in the U.S. Virgin Islands will now have the opportunity to earn a four-year degree for virtually no tuition costs, thanks to a new law passed in the territory and adopted by the University of the Virgin Islands.
Starting this fall, UVI will be the first four-year historically black institution and one of the few four-year colleges or universities in the United States and associated territories to adopt the free college plan, which has gained traction over several years among community and technical colleges.
“What truly makes the Virgin Islands approach to free tuition unique and compelling is that funds are also being set aside to support students in their quest to excel,” said UVI President David Hall. “The Act provides funding so that the University can establish new academic support programs to help more students in high school obtain a 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA) and new programs at the college level that will help them to maintain a 2.5 GPA.”
The program requires scholarship recipients to fulfill a work service requirement in the Virgin Islands, which officials said in a release can range from two months to three years and must be completed within seven years after graduation.
Officials say more than 1,700 students will be eligible for the inaugural year of the free tuition program, spurred by a $3 million investment from the Virgin Islands Internal Revenue Matching Fund.