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Financial Impact

Greater affordability for Virginia's middle-income families

Most Virginians will pay less under the W&M Promise. For incoming freshmen, the plan provides a lower “net price” for all low- and middle-income* Virginia families who qualify for need-based financial aid. As an example, for a family of four with two children in college and a combined household income of $100,000, the annual total cost in 2013-14 (including tuition, fees, room and board, books, travel and incidentals) after grants and financial aid was actually $1,000 less than it would have been under the old model. Previously, that family paid $16,515 through their own funds, loans and work-study. Under the W&M Promise, that cost was reduced to $15,515. The total cost below includes $3,250 estimated for books, travel and incidentals.

Comparison of Costs and Packaging

*The definition of middle income is that developed by the TJ21-created Higher Education Advisory Committee – 400% of the federal poverty definition – or approximately $100,000 for a family of four. According to U.S. Census data, 71% of Virginia households have a combined average income of $100,000 or less.

Lower average student debt

Because of new financial aid, this plan lowers the average annual borrowing and four-year cumulative debt average for new Virginia undergraduates with demonstrated need as determined by the financial aid office. In its first year, the W&M Promise lowered the maximum amount of loans included with an in-state financial aid package by 36% for families with an income between $40,000 and $60,000, and by 18% for all other families with financial need. Freshmen from Virginia families with a household income of less than $40,000 will continue to receive financial aid that covers 100% of their need with grants, not loans.

Comparison of Cumulative Four-Year Debt for Students with Need
Income Previous W&M Promise Debt Reduction
Less than $40,000 $0 $0 $0
$40,000 - $60,000 $22,000 $14,000 $8,000
Greater than $60,000 $22,000 $18,000 $4,000


All offers of financial aid will be determined after the student's aid application is fully reviewed by the financial aid office.