Invest In Me

Help make an accessible, enriching college education possible for all VCU students

If you know anything about Virginia Commonwealth University, you know it’s different here. Like many public research universities, we strive to achieve distinction in education, research, service and patient care. We cultivate discovery, creativity and talent. We foster collaboration to advance learning, entrepreneurship and inquiry.

At VCU, however, we know that access is just as important as excellence. Our students need your help to make the most of their time here.

The Invest in Me campaign aims to raise funds to enhance the VCU experience, from scholarships that make it possible for students to join our campus community and stay the course through graduation to awards that offset living expenses while they focus on meaningful internships or assistantships to travel grants that help them attend academic and professional conferences or expand their horizons through study abroad.

VCU students are the doctors, job creators, engineers, social workers, dentists and artists — the changemakers — of tomorrow.

Invest in them. Your support today is an investment not just in their future but in all of our futures.

Jaelin Vaughn
Scholarship »

“I’m a first-generation student from a single-parent household. Having a scholarship takes off some of the financial stress of my education, but the recognition goes even further than the funding itself. It is so rewarding to be recognized for your achievements, so I hope to do that for someone else in the future.”

Jaelin Vaughn

School of Business, Class of 2022

Above and beyond

Merit-based scholarships provide sense of recognition for industrious Business student

Throughout his life, Jaelin Vaughn has been known for his ambition and aptitude. He wasted no time establishing that same reputation when he enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018, where he has been heavily involved in student organizations, honor societies and volunteer service groups since that first year on campus — all while excelling in his academic courses.

“I’ve always felt the need to prove to myself and others that I’m down for any challenge and I can do the work,” says Vaughn, a third-year economics major in the VCU School of Business.

As much as Vaughn enjoys being active in student life, the benefits of his involvement come with a cost, he says.

“There are a lot of trade-offs you have to make and it gets stressful,” Vaughn says. “Just maintaining good grades can be a lot, but on top of that, I work, participate in student organizations and maintain my personal life. When all of those things mix together, you have to work hard to stay afloat.”

Receiving the Covington Travel Scholarship, a merit-based award for juniors or seniors in the School of Business who demonstrate strong leadership skills, in 2020 provided a sense of recognition for his hard work as well as the added benefit of financial relief, Vaughn says.

“I’m a first-generation student from a single-parent household,” he says. “Having a scholarship takes off some of the financial stress of my education, but the recognition goes even further than the funding itself.”

As Vaughn prepares for his final year at VCU and the career he hopes to have after graduation, he looks forward to the day he can pay it forward.

“It is so rewarding to be recognized for your achievements, so I hope to do that for someone else in the future,” he says.

Laura Herring
Experience »

“Without my scholarship, I would have to work full time and would have less time to study and take advantage of the experiential learning opportunities I’ve had. I can’t express how much gratitude I have for the support I’ve received. It makes me feel like someone really believes in me and wants to help me follow my dreams.”

Laura Herring

School of Nursing, Class of 2021

Poised to lead

Scholarship support enables nursing student to pursue experiential learning opportunities

Before Laura Herring enrolled in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, she earned her associate degree from Rappahannock Community College near her hometown of Essex, Virginia. She used her time at RCC to explore the health care field by shadowing caregivers in different areas of a local hospital.

“I really fell in love with nursing when I shadowed an ER nurse,” says Herring, who will complete her B.S. in Nursing at VCU in May. “I realized how much of an impact I could make on people’s lives. I just knew that was what I was meant to do.”

Herring worked full time to afford the cost of tuition, books, fees and living expenses while she was in community college. At VCU, her financial burden has been relieved thanks to support from the Joanne and William Conway Nursing Scholarship, which fund provides scholarships to about 150 undergraduate students in the School of Nursing each year.

The award, Herring says, has helped her excel in the School of Nursing’s Leadership Fellows Program.

“The program is one of the most amazing things I have experienced in nursing school,” Herring says. “Without the Conway scholarship, I would have to go back to working full time and would have less time to study and take advantage of the kind of experiential learning opportunities I’ve had.”

After she graduates, Herring plans to work as an ER nurse before pursuing travel nursing, where she would complete short-term assignments in high-need hospitals. She feels prepared to go wherever her career may take her, though, thanks to her time at VCU and the scholarship that helped her make the most of it.

“I can’t express how much gratitude I have for the support I’ve received,” Herring says. “It makes me feel like someone really believes in me and wants to help me follow my dreams.”

By the numbers

The Invest in Me campaign launched in 2019 to raise funds to enhance the VCU experience. So far:

5,500+

donors have supported
Invest in Me.

650+

funds are benefitting from support for Invest in Me.

150+

new funds have been established.

$33.8M

has been raised during
the campaign.