Last Updated: September 10, 2021
Virginia - Old Dominion
Also referred to as the "Mother of States", Virginia is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. With a population of about 9 million and rising, the state of Virginia ranks 12th in terms of population in the nation. It will be interesting to know the origin of the state's name. The state was called 'Virginia' by the famous writer and statesman, Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth to honor the 'virgin queen'. The weather in this state remains mild to humid, and the minimum temperature in winters goes till 30F. The state not only features 20 Fortune 500 companies (Freddie Mac, McLean, Capital One, to name a few) but also has the highest density of high-tech workers in the USA. Virginia is considered one of the best states in the nation for businesses.
The state of Virginia is also known for its quality of education and reputed institutes of higher learning. Some of the top colleges and universities in the state to select from, are the University of Virginia (that has been named as a World Heritage Site), College of William and Mary (which educated U.S. Presidents namely, James Monroe, John Tyler, and Thomas Jefferson), Virginia Tech, George Mason University (which is popular for programs in law, economics, and public policy), and Virginia Commonwealth University (as it ranks the highest for courses including medicine, health administration as well as social work and art).
Major Cities in Virginia
Virginia Beach is the largest and the most populated city in the state of Virginia. It was founded in the year 1887. It has always been the most popular destination for tourists and still is. Virginia Beach is a place of great importance when it comes to the national defense system, and has three and a half military bases. Because of the amazing beaches, excellent restaurants, and numerous resorts, it is also widely known as the party town or the 'Resort City'.
This is the second-largest city in Virginia that was founded in the year 1682. Being one of the oldest cities, it is known for its rich culture and history. It is also popularly called the 'Tree City' because of the abundant beautiful trees that surround the city. Virginia Zoo, the West Point Monument at Elmwood Cemetery, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and the Norfolk Botanical Garden are a few popular places in this city. The biggest naval base in the world and the North American Headquarters for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is located in the city of Norfolk.
Chesapeake was established as a city with the merging of Norfolk County and the city of South Norfolk. It is widely known as one of the safest cities in the country. The name of the city means 'at a big river' or 'mother of waters' because of its numerous wetlands, and was probably given by the native Algonquin tribe who once inhabited the place. The Northwest River Park, the Dismal Swamp State Park. Lake Drummond, Oak Grove Lake Park, Great Bridge Lock Park, are some of the popular places to visit in the city of Chesapeake.
Richmond is the capital city of Virginia and was established as a city in 1782. The city was named after a place in England by William Byrd II. It is popularly known as the 'River City' because of the James River situated here. The Canal Walk, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Maymont, White House of the Confederacy, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Virginia State Capitol, Church Hill Historic District, are some of the popular sites in this city. Apart from its rich history, the city is also known for its quality of life. Dominion Resources, Genworth Financial, Performance Food Group, The Brink's Company, CSX, LandAmerica Financial are some of the Fortune 500 companies located in this city.
The state of Virginia has always been known as a state that performs well economically.
Freddie Mac, Tysons, Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Capital One Financial, Dollar Tree, DXC Technology, Altria Group, Performance Food Group, CarMax are some of the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Virginia. Agriculture and forestry are the leading sectors that contribute to the economy of the state. Major produce includes tobacco, apples, grapes, peanuts, tomatoes, and so on.
Apart from agriculture, the state of Virginia also excels in sectors like corporate services, food processing, information technology, and manufacturing. After the outbreak of the covid-19 virus, the state of Virginia did suffer major losses in terms of economy. Despite this, the state succeeded in experiencing a breakthrough concerning economic recovery. There was a visible increase in the GDP by 6.4%. Employment in Virginia is projected at 9.0 percent by 2024 (healthcare and Technology are major growth areas), while the nation's average is 6.5%.
Tuition Fee and Living Cost in Virginia
The median household income is around $75,000 in the state of Virginia. The cost of living is also slightly above the mean range of the country. A major portion of one's expenses will be utilized for housing costs as it is the highest when compared to the national average. Medical costs can also be on the less affordable side, and therefore, students must be well-prepared in terms of money and consider choosing the best medical insurances.
Transportation, groceries, and utilities are slightly cheaper than the national average. The costs will vary based on the location. Tuition fees can be on the costlier side for out-of-state students attending public colleges as state institutions charge tuition fees higher than that of in-state students. Pursuing an education in a private institution can also be expensive. Students should check out all possible ways for acquiring scholarships or grants offered by the university or the state.
List of Few Major Universities/Colleges
About 167 Colleges and Universities comprise a strict and firm college education system in the Old Dominion. On average, 20,000-30,000 students get enrolled in various universities each year in Virginia. This state has universities that top the charts in the fields of fine arts, technology, science, and music. Even with higher educational costs, the quality of education that is imparted in Virginia attracts numerous students across the country and the globe for higher studies and research work.
- University of Virginia-Main Campus Located in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia is one of the top public institutes of higher learning in the state of Virginia. It was founded by one of the founding fathers of the nation, Thomas Jefferson, in the year 1819. It is known for its high research, excellent faculty, and diverse student body of around 28,000. The student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. The tuition fee for undergraduate in-state students is about $19,000 and around $55,000 for out-of-state students. The university is known for making education affordable and accessible for the academically brilliant and deserving by even covering 100% of the financial requirement.
- College of William and Mary Situated in Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary is the second oldest institute in the country. It was founded by King William III and Queen Mary II of England in the year 1693. It is one of the most reputed public research universities in the state and has around 9,700 students, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. The institution also offers a wide range of majors and minors with a strong liberal arts program. The tuition fee for undergraduate in-state students is about $25,000 and about $50,000 for out-of-state students. U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler, George Washington are notable alumni of this institution.
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University This is another eminent public university situated in Blacksburg, that was established in the year 1872. With around 36,000 students and more than 2,000 teachers, the student-to-faculty ratio in this institution is 14:1. The tuition fee is $15,000 for in-state students and around $35,000 for out-of-state students. The institute is known for its high research activity and offers more than 280 undergraduate and graduate programs. The motto of the university is to serve, which suggests not just serving students with the highest quality of education but also serving the nation by generating leaders and scholars out of young scholars.
- Washington and Lee University One of the most prestigious and the 9th oldest private Liberal Arts Institute, Washington and Lee University, is located in the vibrant town of Lexington. Founded in the year 1749, it was initially known as the Augusta Academy. It is also not very far from the capital of the nation, Washington DC. The university consists of over 2,100 students and some of the best faculty members that promote innovative learning. The student-to-faculty ratio here is 8:1. Washington and Lee University charges around $50,000 for all students. Through an interdisciplinary approach to education, the institution aims to bring the best out of its students and to prepare them for a promising and impactful tomorrow.
Scholarships/Financial Aid for Students
With basic living expenditure being high, and tuition fees for an out-of-state student being two times greater than that of an in-state student in Virginia, scholarships, and grants may seem essential. Although summer jobs and training sessions work well for students to earn some money, universities and colleges are open to scholarships and loans. However, the federal government funds only two universities namely, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to perform agriculture research and serve in cooperative extension. Different grants have scholarships that will have their own specific requirements either based on need, academic merit, race/gender/ethnicity, and so on. Students should make sure to get adequate details either from the bursar office of the institute or the specific website. To determine the eligibility of the candidates, the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is to be filled by all students.
- Two-Year College Transfer Grant: This is a grant program that assists students who have an associate degree. It must be from a two-year institute within the state of Virginia, and the student must transfer to a four-year accredited college/university on a full-time basis. Other requirements to seek this grant include securing a GPA of 3.00, establishing a domicile in Virginia, not pursuing any course related to Theology or Divinity, and demonstrating financial need.
- Virginia Commonwealth Award: This is a scholarship program for students pursuing an undergraduate or a graduate degree. To be qualified for the program, the candidate must be enrolled in a public college/university (two-year or four-year) on a part-time or full-time basis. The student should also be a citizen of the United State, a permanent resident of the state of Virginia, and display a certain level of financial need. The award amount may differ based on the candidate's level of need, institutional funds, or overall educational costs.
- Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG): This is another grant program offered by the state. To be eligible for the program, students must be permanent residents of the state, attend an accredited institution that is private on a full-time basis, not pursue any program related to Theology or Divinity, and display financial need. The award amounts are different for undergraduates and graduates. The sum may also vary based on the level of need and can be anything between $1,500 to $3,000.
Being the 'Mother of States' (because this state was the first permanent settlement in the entire country), Virginia has a great record of various historical events. Considering this interesting aspect about the state, it is evident that the state will also have numerous cultural and historical sites for tourists to explore. Apart from exploring the state through an educational lens, the state is also ideal for enjoying its vibrant beauty and natural wonders. Popular places one must visit in the state of Virginia include the Virginia Beach city, Arlington National Cemetery, Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, Monticello and Charlottesville, the Luray Caverns, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Natural Bridge of Virginia, and a lot more. Food lovers should definitely try out iconic foods from the state such as the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab, Southern Fried Chicken, Fresh Oysters, BBQ and ham, Appalachian food, Apple Pie, etc. The best time to visit the Old Dominion is around April or May, before spring ends, or in October.
Universities & Colleges in Virginia
*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
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