Local university uses social media to give away scholarships

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Union University’s president took to social media to give away $50,000 in unclaimed scholarship money this week.

“I’m looking for each and every one of you,” said VUU President Hakim Lucas.

The president of Virginia Union University went live on Facebook Tuesday afternoon in hopes of tracking down students who had unclaimed scholarship money.

“I will be trying to call you over the next 24 hours to make sure you claim your scholarship dollars,” Lucas said.

The university wanted to make sure they did everything they could to get students the money they needed to come back to school this spring.

“I think it’s amazing and pretty cutting-edge,” said Allia Carter, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “I hadn’t thought of it; the president did.”

The unclaimed money was for both merit and need-based scholarships. Some students may not have known their grades qualified them for scholarships. Others were hand-picked by university deans.

“We felt it was best to allow the deans to be able to identify the students who had the greatest need,” Carter said. “That’s a little different, normally you see people go to the financial aid office and that’s not really what they do. You know we are a family here.”

In addition to the scholarships, faculty and staff also stayed behind, giving up part of their winter vacation, to call every student who hadn’t registered yet for spring classes.

“As of today we are at 87 percent tracking of retention of our students for us we are down to the 48-hour wire and for us, our goal is to hit 100 percent,” Carter said.

The university said any unclaimed money will be redistributed to other students in need.

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