The University of the Virgin Islands is the first four-year university to offer students in the island or territory free tuition, thus making the institution the first four-year historically Black college or university to do so.

According to The University of The Virgin Islands’ website, UVI’s The Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship program is offered to residents who attended and graduated a private, public or parochial high school on the islands.  

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“A college degree is no longer a luxury that the rich and the academically and athletically gifted individuals can obtain,” said David Hall, UVI president said in a statement. “Higher education is a basic necessity and must be provided in the same way we provide other basic necessities.”

Background information such as age, date of graduation and household is not required for applicants. 

Students must meet the requirements of maintaining a 2.5 GPA and complete a work service that ranges from two months to three years as long as it’s within seven years of graduation.

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Any student can apply to the program for the upcoming academic school year as long they meet the listed requirements, apply to UVI and submit their FAFSA by the March 1 deadline.

“There are individuals in the Virgin Islands who have put their educational dream on hold five, 10, 15 or even 20 or more years ago,” he note. “This policy enables and inspires them to now pick back up those dreams, brush them off, and pursue the fulfillment of that degree that they never were able to achieve in the past because of financial limitations.”

The Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship program was signed into law earlier this year. The Internal Revenue Matching Fund is providing $3 million to the University of the Virgin Islands Scholarship Revolving Fund.

The president said around 1,700 students are expected to be eligible for free tuition. 

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New students who are interested in applying to the school for the Spring 2020 semester must apply by Oct. 15.