Conceived and led by current IDEA Fund Chair Russell Logan, the Fund’s second “Big IDEA” is the Early ID Program. This program was established in 2013 to increase the yield and pool of high quality diversity and low-income applications to the University. To this end, the IDEA Fund has developed a program to reach out to academically competitive diverse and low-income candidates to educate them on applying, qualifying, and paying for UVa. The objective is to give both the students and their families the understanding and confidence that, if they continue on their current path, they can attend a school like UVA.
To do this, the Early ID Program works with middle school administrators and other community organizations to generate a list of students in their 6th and 7th grade year who have the potential to attend a four-year college if provided appropriate mentoring and support. Identifying potential UVA students early in the process enables the Trustees to better prepare them for the demands of getting into college, and knowing how to fund their higher education.
The IDEA Fund kicked off the Early ID Program in 2014 by establishing a partnership with Arlington Virginia County Office of Minority Achievement, which provided the conduit into the county middle schools. The Trustees conducted an essay contest with one of the county middle schools to identify and target kids and families for the first early ID pilot. The eight selected winners of the contest were hosted with their families at UVA for a “Family Day” event in the spring with UVA Admissions led by Dean Valerie Gregory from the Outreach team at the Office of Undergraduate Admission. The event included travel for up to four family members, presentation by Dean Roberts, panel discussion with current UVA students, tour of Grounds, and ended with a dinner at an Arlington restaurant upon return. In the fall of 2014, the Trustees hosted the same students with their families to share information provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and upcoming summer program opportunities. Currently, the Trustees are planning a trip to UVA for Arlington Middle School Counselors to become more familiar with admittance requirements and financial aid so they are better equipped to guide their students.
The Trustees intend the Early ID program to serve as a model that the University will replicate in other Virginia communities with under-served potential applicants to the University.