Richmond Scholars, Bonner Scholars, and Aid Update

By Tom

Just a quick update/reminder about where we are in various scholarship and aid processes.

Richmond Scholars

Most Richmond Scholars semi-finalists have been notified already, and all will be notified by the end of this week. (Remember, only students who advance are notified.) We had around 5000 applications submitted by the December 15 deadline, and as always it was a highly competitive pool. Congratulations to all semi-finalists!

All applicants will be considered for the Presidential Scholarships, which are awards in the amount of $15,000 per year; Presidential Scholarships will be awarded with acceptance by the April 1 notification date.

Bonner Scholars

If you’re not familiar with our Bonner Scholars program, you may want to make yourself more familiar with it. Every year, 25 Bonner scholarships are awarded to students who have a passion for community engagement and service; Bonner Scholars become leaders on our campus in community engagement initiatives. The Bonner Scholars program does require a separate application, which is due on February 15.

If you’re curious or have more questions, we will be hosting a Bonner Scholars Chat this coming Tuesday, February 3, from 7:00-9:00 EST. All applied students should be receiving an invitation via e-mail. It should be a great opportunity to interact with current Bonner Scholars and program coordinators to find out more.

Need-Based Aid

Our Office of Financial Aid is gearing up for a busy season. As a reminder, the deadline to apply for need-based aid is February 15. Make sure you’re working on those taxes and getting the FAFSA filled out, as well as our supplemental application (we do not require the CSS profile). As long as you apply by the deadline, we should be able to give you a financial aid package with your acceptance offer come April 1 – which is ideal for helping you make your college decision. Please make the effort to apply for need-based aid, remembering that Richmond is very unique in the generosity of our policies.

And now it’s back to reading applications for me!


  1. Meghan
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I submitted my online application by the Dec. 15th Richmond Scholars deadline but now as I am looking at different things on the website I see that the official transcript had to be received by the deadline also…at the time I thought that it was acceptable to be simply postmarked by the 15th so does this mean that my application was not considered? I know it is too late to be asking but I didn’t realize my mistake until now.

    • Tom
      Posted January 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink


      December 15 was a postmark deadline, not a receipt deadline, so your application was definitely considered. I’m not sure where on the website it is listed as a receipt deadline – if you could e-mail me to let me know ( that would be great, so we can fix the error. We were not overly harsh about the deadline this year – basically, any application submitted by December 15 was considered, as long as it became complete (transcript, letters, testing, etc.) within the next few weeks.


  2. karen
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    my son is a semifinalist for the richmond scholars award. his midyear grade report should go out today–will this be considered as finalists are chosen? a second question…when are finalists generally notified? thanks!

    • Tom
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Hi Karen,

      Congratulations to your son! Midyear grades will be considered by the faculty committees during Richmond Scholar finalist selection. Finalists will be notified by the end of February at the latest and invited to interview on campus from March 17-19.

  3. Lynne
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    If I have not recieved semi-finalist notification yet, is it correct to assume that I was not chosen for the scholarship?

    Also, does recieving the Presidential Scholarship subtract from the amount of need-based aid I will recieve? Ex: If I recieve $20,000 in need-based aid and then am awarded the Presidential Scholarship is the need-based aid reduced to $5,000?


    • Tom
      Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink


      All semi-finalists for the Richmond Scholars program were notified by the end of January. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news – it was, as always, an incredibly competitive pool.

      Merit-based scholarships can be combined with need-based aid, but the overall amount cannot exceed your demonstrated need. Receiving $20,000 is need-based aid here at Richmond would mean receiving $16,000 in need-based grant money and $4,000 in loans/work-study (we cap loans/work-study at $4000). Any other scholarship money (e.g. the Presidential Scholarship) would first be used to replace the loan/work-study portion of your package and reduce your debt burden. After that, however, we would have to use the merit money to replace grant money, since our package can’t exceed demonstrated need. So your total aid package would remain $20,000, but all in grant money with no loan or work-study. If you bring in other scholarships to the point of exceeding $20,000 in merit money, your scholarships would then outweigh need-based aid.

      This is an important point to note when you’re applying to any college or university. Almost all schools will use merit money to replace need-based money (because of the demonstrated need limitation), but you should always ask how exactly that works – will merit money first be used to replace loans, or will they take it straight out of the grants? It’s not too common to go straight for the loans, as we do; at many schools, a $15,000 Presidential Scholarship would replace the grant portion and you would remain with $4,000 in loans. Keep asking smart questions like that, Lynne!

  4. Corey M. Blount
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I mailed my application for Richmond Scholars by the deadline; however I have not heard anything. I am to assume that I did not make Richmond Scholars? If I did not, will my application automatically be considered for other scholarships?
    Thank you.

    • Tom
      Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


      All Richmond Scholars semi-finalists were notified by the end of January. Your application will, however, be automatically considered for certain scholarships (e.g. the Presidential Scholarship). Other scholarships, like the Bonner Scholarship, require an application. See our website for details on each individual program.

  5. Robin R. Campbell
    Posted February 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Hello. I was just wondering if you applied by December 15th, around what time will you be notified about your admission?

    • Tom
      Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi Robin,

      The December 15 deadline, while required for Richmond Scholars consideration, was a Regular Decision deadline, so unfortunately there’s no priority there for notification. All Regular Decision applicants will be notified by the April 1 postmark deadline.

  6. Tom
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Sorry I haven’t been responding to comments in the last week! I was out of the office on early recruitment travel in Pittsburgh, and had a few dedicated reading days following.

  7. Sue
    Posted February 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    How are National Merit Scholarships award amounts determined? Also, if you have just been notified that you have advanced to Finalist standing will this be taken in consideration for The Presidential Scholarship and do you need a copy of the letter from NMSC? What is the deadline for the Presidential Scholarship?

    • Tom
      Posted February 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink


      The amount of a National Merit Scholarship award is determined based upon financial need; all awards begin at the $750 minimum and increase from there based on financial need. The Finalist standing will absolutely be taken into consideration for the Presidential Scholarship awards – we do not require a letter from NMSC, but we do require some form of notification that the student has advanced. Presidential Scholarships are awarded with an offer of admission on or around April 1.


  8. ofelia sy
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear Tom,
    I read in College Confidential thread that someone got an email already that she passed the Richmond Scholarship. May we know if that was only for Boatwright? If we don’t get email, does it mean my daughter didn’t make it? Will you also notify even those who did not qualify?
    Thank you.
    Dr. Sy

  9. Alex Berkenkamp
    Posted February 20, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    It seems like some students on college confidential have been notified that they are finalists for Richmond Scholars. I was a semi-finalist – does the fact that I have not been notified mean I am out of consideration? I hope not….

  10. Tom
    Posted February 20, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Most Richmond Scholars finalist notifications went out via e-mail and postal mail yesterday (including students from every designation), though not all notifications have gone out yet. We are working to have all notifications out as soon as possible. All students will be notified, whether or not they advance.

    Keep in mind that, of the 4700+ applications we received by December 15, we’re down to about 100 finalists (that’s 2% of the original applicant pool). This is a highly competitive process, and simply being selected as a semifinalist means that you are already in among the very best in our applicant pool.

    Congratulations to all finalists!

  11. Meg
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tom,
    I’m assuming that if a semi-finalist, like myself, has not been notified by now that she’s not up for the final round- correct?

    • Tom
      Posted February 24, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Hi Meg,

      While most finalists have been notified, we still haven’t quite notified all of them yet. Everybody (all semi-finalists) will hear from us one way or another by the end of the week. I know how frustrating a situation this is – I can only assure you that we truly are doing our best to be as efficient and expedient as possible in this process.


  12. Ashton Gelat
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    I still have not heard from the Richmond Scholars regarding finalist status, and I am wondering if this has anything to do with the fact I did not send my mid-year report in. I emailed Kate Wheeler (my admissions counselor) regarding my school’s inability to send it on time, but I read earlier in the posts that they are using them in the final deliberation. Does not having my report in hurt my chances/disqualify me?

    • Tom
      Posted February 24, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink


      The committees do consider midyear grades in their deliberations, if midyear grades are available. For those students whose schools can’t provide them, however, we obviously can’t hold it against the students. There is no negative impact or disqualification for students whose midyear grades are not available. For students whose midyear grades are available, they may serve as additional support or as a drop, depending on what those grades look like!


  13. Megha Banerjee
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I am an international applicant living in Brazil. I have not received my semi-finalist notification yet. International mail is very slow, and I was wondering if international semi-finalists were intimated online, or if we may call and find out the status of our scholarship application.

    • Tom
      Posted February 26, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink


      For the Richmond Scholars program, international students were notified about semi-finalist status via e-mail. All semi-finalists were notified by the end of January, however. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but please see my comments above regarding just how competitive the pool was this year.


  14. A Waiting Mom
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Tom, thank you so much for these blogs. We wait anxiously for April 2nd at our mailbox to arrive and in the mean time these Q & A have cleared up so many of our questions. We do have one-IF my daughter is NOT accepted to UR, she wants to wait a year and apply again for 2010 (Yes, it is her first choice). Will the admissions office guide us in what she could work on during that year to make her chances of being accepted better? Basically, tell us what she needed to be accepted. Thank you

    • Tom
      Posted March 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Waiting Mom,

      I’m glad to hear of your daughter’s excitement about Richmond, and that the blog has been helpful to you. If a student is not accepted (and let’s not cross very far across that bridge until we come to it), we’re happy to help advise students on what they might do if they still wish to attend Richmond.

      I can tell you right now (and for the general edification of all readers out there) that the best option will always be to enroll at another institution and apply as a transfer student to Richmond after a year (in which case we’ll be glad to help counsel a student on what sort of coursework to take for a competitive transfer application). Students who enroll at another school and maintain strong grades prove to us easily that they can be very successful in a college environment.

      Generally speaking, there’s not much value to taking some sort of Gap Year experience for the purpose of reapplying. Most selective colleges place emphasis on your classroom work, curricular choices and standardized testing rather than extracurricular experiences when making admission decisions; a year from now, you’ll still have the same grades on your transcript. (I stole the last two sentences from a post Maria did last year on Taking a Gap Year. I’d recommend checking it out, particularly the good and bad reasons for Gap Years that Maria explains.)

      Of course, when April 1 rolls around and our decisions are released, we will be ready to help advise and counsel students in whatever way needed.


  15. Sarah
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I applied for the art scholarship. Would I have already been notified if I was chosen?

    • Tom
      Posted March 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink


      It depends on which art scholarship you’re talking about. (We have two different art scholarships, and it can be kind of confusing.) If you’re speaking about the Artist Scholar designation within the Richmond Scholars program – which required you to complete an Artist’s Statement and apply by December 15 – then semi-finalists and finalists for that scholarship have already been notified along with all other Richmond Scholars.

      If, however, you’re talking about the Music and Theatre/Dance scholarships offered through those departments, and you auditioned for one of them, then you can check with the particular department offering the scholarship – they are run entirely by those departments, outside of our office, and I’m not sure how far they are in their selection process.

      The difference, for the general record, is that the Artist Scholar within the Richmond Scholars program is based on a combination of academic and artistic merit (students at the top of our pool academically who also exhibit significant contributions in the arts), whereas the Music/Theatre/Dance department scholarships are based solely on artistic merit.

  16. A Waiting Mom
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your reply to my question about finding out how to reapply to UR if NOT accepted.
    Also, the poem was a true “work of art” 🙂 It makes the process and if one is not accepted more understandable.
    Great Job!

  17. William
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi, i am currently applying for the artists scholars program. How many people last year applied for this specific program, and if you can, for everyone else interested, list all the others.

    • Tom
      Posted December 3, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink


      It’s a little complicated, because many students are considered for multiple designations within the Richmond Scholars program, so it’s not really that we have a completely separate group of just Artist Scholar candidates. They are Artist Scholar designees within the greater pool of Richmond Scholars applicants. I don’t have the exact number of students who applied specifically for the Artist Scholars designation last year; as far as semifinalists go, we had about 600 across all designations, but I’m not sure how many of these were under the artist designation. Keep in mind that, to advance to the semifinalist stage, there is a holistic review that looks not only at artist credentials but even more heavily at academic criteria; the artist credentials are considered more heavily at the semifinalist stage.

  18. Alex Wilkinson
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    I applied by the December 15th deadline and was just wondering if all of the official notifications for the semi finalists for the Richmond scholarships program were sent out.

    Thank you very much,

    Alex Wilkinson

    • Tom
      Posted January 4, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Hi Alex,

      This post is from last year, so it’s well out of date. Richmond Scholar semifinalist notifications will be going out through the beginning of February.


  19. Carly
    Posted March 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tom,
    I applied for the Bonner Scholarship back in February, and I was just wondering if the selected scholars have been notified. If not, do you have an estimate on when they will be?

    • Tom
      Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink


      Bonner Scholars have not been notified yet. They are typically notified in early April, shortly after students receive an offer of admission.


  20. Melanie Tatum
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Tom,
    I was wondering if you could confirm if all students selected as Richmond Scholars have been notified.

    Will the students who were not selected be notified as well?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    • Tom
      Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink


      I honestly don’t know whether all Richmond Scholar recipients have been notified – notification falls entirely to the faculty committees and Scholars Office. I know that all finalists will be notified, whether or not they are ultimately selected, so you will definitely hear one way or another.


  21. barbara
    Posted April 13, 2011 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    After the May 1 deadline, is there ever any additional merit monies that are awarded, that may have been offered to a student that chooses another institution? My child received some merit money from other institutions..but not from UR…and loves UR.

    • Tom
      Posted April 19, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink


      In general, the answer to your question is no. For the four-year scholarships awarded by the admission office (Richmond Scholars, Presidential, Trustee, etc.) there are no additional monies awarded after May 1; just as with offers of admission, we make more offers than we anticipate students will accept, in order to hit our target number.

      For scholarships awarded by other departments (arts, ROTC, athletics, Bonner Scholars, etc.), I have been aware of a very limited number of situations in which monies were awarded after May 1. This is entirely dependent upon each of these departments’ awarding policies and contingent upon their not enrolling students as anticipated (which rarely occurs). But I have seen it happen a handful of times.

      The other monies to keep in mind are the endowed scholarships that are restricted to particular major fields or departments. Since students don’t declare majors at Richmond until their sophomore year, a number of them will pick up additional scholarship money as they move through their four years here. However, this is not guaranteed when enrolling, so obviously it’s just something to keep in mind.


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