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UVA President Jim Ryan Explains Free Tuition, Direction for University

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President Jim Ryan sat down with NBC29 to detail UVA's plan for free tuition. President Jim Ryan sat down with NBC29 to detail UVA's plan for free tuition.
President Ryan explained the thought process behind the free tuition idea. President Ryan explained the thought process behind the free tuition idea.
Ryan first announced the plan at his inauguration ceremony. Ryan first announced the plan at his inauguration ceremony.
UVA's next steps will be to target out-of-state students with similar financial issues. UVA's next steps will be to target out-of-state students with similar financial issues.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

New University of Virginia President Jim Ryan is already promising some big changes for students and their money. In an interview with NBC29, President Ryan talked about how new tuition cuts will take place at UVA.

Ryan is assuring all in-state students whose families make less than $80,000 a year will get free tuition. Those making less than $30,000 will also get free room and board.

Ryan made the big announcement during his inauguration ceremony two weeks ago. While UVA has offered something like this in the past, more money is making it possible to expand the offer.

In an interview, Ryan said he asked his team to run the numbers and they noticed that UVA was already coming close to paying tuition, room and board for students who qualified. He asked if they were confident the school could promise it going forward and his team said it would be a bit of a stretch, but could absolutely be done.

“This is something that within two months of arriving, I thought ‘we could do this and we ought to,” Ryan said.

Students will still apply through the financial aid office. The money will come from current funding, gifts, and endowments.

“Part of this was just setting a clear and simple set of rules,” Ryan said. “It’s just that the grants part of the financial aid will be enough to cover tuition for families who earn under $80,000 and tuition, room and board for those who earn under $30,000.”

Students may need to take out loans for incidentals or, if their household makes more than $30,000 a year for room and board. Undergraduate students from families of under $30,000 a year should not have more than $4,000 in loans for incidental expenses

“So for students who have tuition covered, some students may take out loans for room and board, depending on their family circumstances,” Ryan said. “With students who are from families under $30,000, there is currently a $1,000 a year loan cap.”

Ryan said it is in an effort to make sure that everyone is getting a fair shot at a good education.

“There’s a great deal of talent distributed across all socioeconomic levels and if we can’t do our best to make sure that money is not the reason why you can’t come to UVA, then we can make sure that if you are admitted you will be able to come, that way we’re able to draw from the widest pool of talent,” Ryan said.

According to Ryan, the next steps will target out-of-state students with the same financial issues.