UFUSED (United for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity)  focuses on issues of access, advocacy, and awareness for current and prospective low-income and first-generation students at the University of Virginia.


We pursue positive change in these primary areas:

ACCESS – improving efforts to recruit low-SES students and spreading awareness of financial aid options and other resources at the University.

ADVOCACY – meeting with administrators to discuss and encourage reform of existing policies that may or may not be fully addressing issues of access, equity, and inclusion

AWARENESS – placing a spotlight on socioeconomic diversity, inequality, and opportunity and encouraging all members of the U.Va. community to be more conscious of these issues

SUPPORT – fostering an environment of inclusion, connecting people to helpful programs and resources, and creating a network for students

In the News

 

 

Divergent Voices

I was a high school drop out at age 15 and went back to get my GED when I was 17 years old. My mom was a single mother who lost her job when the economy crashed. She eventually found other work but had to quit to take care of my grandmother who had alzheimers. My grandfather died of pancreatic cancer and a year later my grandmother was put into a nursing home because she was to the point we couldn’t take care of her any longer. My mother and I lived with my grandparents in their house which was foreclosed on when my grandma was put into a nursing home which left my mom and me homeless. This is definitely the time of my life that I was most aware of my SES. It is crazy to think that all of this happened only 4 years ago. We moved probably 7 times before I finally got a decent paying job and I also attended community college full time and graduated with an associates degree with a 4.0 GPA. I applied to my dream college, UVA and saved up enough money to move to Charlottesville. I am so happy that UVA gave me a chance and provided me with so many academic opportunities I otherwise would have never had but it hasn’t been without many challenges. It is still hard for me to believe how far I’ve come despite the adversity I have faced in my life. I will be graduating in May and I am currently applying to grad schools which is a position that I never dreamed I would be in. My time at UVA has been financially challenging and I am afraid of where I will live when I graduate college in May. My goal is to find a job where I can work for the summer before grad school but I have definitely felt that my financial challenges have added a tremendous amount of stress to my life that I feel most other students don’t have to worry about. I always think, I should be excited about graduating but I am terrified because I don’t ever want to be homeless again for any amount of time! I feel my experiences have set me apart from a lot of students here and feel like I have experienced a lot of things in life many other students here have never known and will never know what it’s like to experience. It makes it difficult to relate to others at times and sometimes it feel as though others are unappreciative of the little things in life that they take for granted every single day.

Anonymous

The swathes of seersucker, Polo button downs and Barbour jackets that I saw when I first came to the university were jarring. The raggedy Vans and ripped flannels that I had thought nothing of for years suddenly became a mark of shame, and in my desire to fit in I began browsing online retailers for these clothes that seemed to be mandatory school uniforms. The price tags were shocking, to say the least, and I was confronted with the full weight of what privilege meant. Still, I felt too ostracized to continue on with the clothes that I wore. The money that I received from my financial aid refund- a sum that I should have used to pay for my books- was instead spent on eBay. In my attempt to camouflage my way into acceptance, I ended up having to forgo books for some of my courses and take the grade hits that came with them. This decision wasn’t one made trivially, the way I dressed seriously impacted the way that people interacted with me. My shirt was more than a shirt, it was a badge of either privilege or disadvantage, the result of which determined whether or not I could be a “real” UVA student.

Anonymous

Contact

For any inquiries, questions, or comments, please contact us at ufusedatuva@virginia.edu or fic5cu@virginia.edu.