March 17, 2023
VCU is an inclusive community unlike any other
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About 5 ways VCU is uncommon: In this series, we explore how VCU students learn, grow and challenge the status quo at one of the nation’s premier urban universities.
There’s nothing cookie-cutter about Virginia Commonwealth University. Every student is unique, coming to VCU from different places, backgrounds and lived experiences. We don’t just accept those differences; we celebrate them.
Being part of our inclusive community encourages students to grow and be open to new experiences and serves as a catalyst that cultivates a sense of belonging on our campus. Our students – our community – make up the fabric of VCU, and the perspectives our students bring to the table push our university forward.
Belong on our campus
With a 16:1 student-faculty ratio, you’re not just a number. You’ll engage with faculty who care about you as a person – and who reflect the diverse and inclusive community VCU has to offer. As of 2021, VCU had the highest percentage of minority faculty and instructors among all Virginia universities with graduate programs.
Our community includes faculty, staff and students – students from 49 states, as well as Washington, D.C., international students from 140 countries, transfer students, adult learners and military veterans.
At VCU, 54% of undergraduate students and nearly half of all students are from minority backgrounds. In 2020-21, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked VCU in the top 30 universities for bachelor’s degrees awarded to African American students and No. 61 for undergraduate students from all minority backgrounds. We’re a Minority Serving Institution – a prestigious eligibility status we gained in 2022 and acknowledgment of our efforts to create conditions of belonging that benefit all students and build a future that reflects equity, inclusivity and justice for all.
Last fall, 34% of incoming freshmen at VCU were first-generation college students. Our You First at VCU initiative empowers first-generation students, and our First-Generation Student Success and Research Center — expanding with a recent grant from the U.S. Department of Education — aims to increase first-generation students’ sense of belonging, academic success, retention and graduation rates.
We serve students from all socioeconomic backgrounds: Nearly 1/3 of students are Pell Grant-eligible, demonstrating a high financial need.
We offer numerous resources to prepare you for your career. Identity + Career support is available to students, as is our Men of Color Initiative, which offers Black and Latino men a chance to strengthen connections at VCU.
Our Office of Multicultural Student Affairs offers opportunities for learning and building community around celebrating diversity, promoting inclusion and advocating for social justice at VCU and in the surrounding community. The Q Collective, VCU’s Queer Research and Advocacy Center, promotes connection and supports LGBTQIA+ artistic, educational and community-engaged research activities among students, faculty, staff and the Greater Richmond community.
Our Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation is broadening access to education for students from diverse backgrounds and fostering connection between our university and the community to address societal challenges in areas including sustainable food access, urban education, intersections in the lives of LGBTQIA+ communities and race, culture and health. Through this and numerous other programs at VCU, students have opportunities to contribute to research that makes an impact.
Students from all walks of life and all backgrounds converge here in Richmond, the city we call home.
To see how our prime location lends itself to numerous opportunities and resources to prepare you for your career, read the next part in our 5 Ways VCU is Uncommon series.
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