Success is: experience, transforming, involvement, perspective Success is: experience, transforming, involvement, perspective

We continue to increase our graduation rates — above the national average — while continuing to increase access and raising our student profile.

Universities make our nation stronger by helping its people succeed and we’ve certainly seen this at Virginia Commonwealth University. In this year’s annual report, meet three members of the VCU Class of 2019. Through the lens of these alumni, learn how VCU has transformed to become even more student-centered. Because, at the heart of our great university is every one of our students.

rao signature
Michael Rao, Ph.D.
President, VCU and VCU Health System
VCU's Graduation Rates

success is

success is involvement

Students get involved and succeed when they are supported.

Mary Metzger came to VCU with a general idea of what she wanted to do after college. But how to sharpen that vision, let alone achieve it, she says, wasn’t clear. That soon changed with help from her adviser, the Honors College, the University Career Center and the Pre-Accelerator Program. She says it was their support that encouraged her to get more involved in shaping her experiences and achieving her goals. And it was the scholarships that helped her make room in her schedule so she could get involved. Her path to success continues as an illustrator at a stationery company.

  • 300+

    The number of endowed scholarships and student aid created through the university’s fundraising campaign

  • $2M+

    Students in the Pre-Accelerator Program raised more than $2 million in investments and revenue across five cohorts

  • 20,468

    The number of jobs, internships and experiential learning opportunities available to students through the University Career Center’s Handshake program

VCU gave me opportunities to get involved, set goals. I brought the drive and follow-through to make them happen.

Mary Metzger

Communication arts, Class of 2019

success is experience

Each experience builds the confidence to push ahead.

Tyriq Clay entered VCU through the TRiO program, a federally funded program geared to help low-income and first-generation students achieve academic success. He worked closely with that network and his engineering cohort to connect and gain experience. Tyriq says he learned far more than just equations and calculations; he learned concepts like time management, perseverance and how to analyze results. There are very few obstacles, he says, that he can’t work around after studying them for a bit. That realization gave him the confidence to succeed. His path to success has led him to a position at a major aerospace company.

  • 87.8%

    The percentage of TRiO students who said, the federally funded student support program gave them the motivation to succeed

  • 86%

    The percentage of VCU students who reported that their experiential learning helped prepare them for the workplace

  • 17%

    The percentage of VCU students who moved up two or more income quartiles after they graduated, the highest rate among any university in the mid-Atlantic

College has taught me that opportunities are everywhere, and there are a bunch of doors that seemed locked at first, but were actually open the whole time.

Tyriq Clay

Mechanical engineering, Class of 2019

success is perspective

Perspective creates the space to explore and achieve more.

Drashty Mody chose VCU because of its urban setting and inherent potential for a real-world education. In addition to her academic studies, Drashty worked in a microbial ecology research lab as part of VCU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, studying bacterial and fungal nitrogen cycling, and traveled to Peru and Ecuador to work in mobile health clinics as part of the student organization MEDLIFE at VCU. Drashty also was a member of LEAD, a four-semester living-learning program for undergraduate students who are dedicated to developing their leadership skills. Her experiences gave her a new perspective on her career goals. Her path to success has led her to graduate school, pursuing research and dentistry.

  • 93%

    The percentage of undergraduate research fellowship alumni who went on to graduate or professional school

  • 1:1

    The student-to-faculty mentor ratio in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

  • 1,747

    The number of hours of leadership and service by students in LEAD

I wouldn’t have ever recognized this curiosity in me, which has become a very important element of my future career, if I had not had the UROP experience here.

Drashty Mody

Biology/pre-dentistry, Class of 2019

Together we are transforming the VCU experience.

VCU provides a solid pathway for students to achieve their academic and career goals. These initiatives showcase the many ways we are working at VCU and beyond to develop a strong support system for our students.

Facts & Figures

7,773 degrees and certificates awarded

VCU has increased its six-year graduation rate by 37% over a 10-year period. The rate is currently 67.4%, higher than the national average of 59.8% and the national average for public universities, which is 58.9%.

VCU graduation rates
  • 64%

    of Hispanic/Latino students graduate in six years, compared to 68% of white students

  • 63%

    of African Americans graduate in six years

  • 63%

    the six-year graduation rate for Pell Grant-eligible students (who make up about a third of VCU’s undergraduate population)

These rates for Hispanic/Latino and African-American students are significantly higher than the national averages, which are 54% and 40%, respectively.


  • 31,076 students
  • 45% minority
  • 30% underrepresented
  • 86.3% Virginia residents
  • 32.9% first-generation first years
  • 23.1% enrolled in STEM
  • 3.35 - 4.05 high school GPA middle 50%

  • 1080 - 1250 SAT middle 50%

VCU Athletics


  • 300

    Student-athletes, average GPA of 3.2

  • 9

    A-10 Conference championships

2020 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings

  • 38th

    Ethnic diversity

  • 45th

    Social mobility

  • 76th

    Top public schools

U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings, top 50 programs

  • 1st Fine Arts – Sculpture
  • 1st Nurse Anesthesia
  • 2nd Fine Arts
  • 3rd Education – Online
  • 3rd Fine Arts – Glass
  • 4th Rehabilitation Counseling
  • 5th Health Care Management
  • 7th Fine Arts – Graphic Design
  • 7th Fine Arts – Painting/Drawing
  • 9th Fine Arts – Ceramics
  • 10th Fine Arts – Printmaking
  • 17th Occupational Therapy
  • 17th Pharmacy
  • 20th Best Education Schools
  • 20th Nuclear Engineering
  • 20th Physical Therapy
  • 25th Social Work
  • 39th Public Affairs
  • 44th Best Nursing Schools – Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • 48th Engineering – Online
VCU Ram Logo

Alumni 199,206 living alumni


  • 23,401

    VCU and VCU Health employees

  • 2,446

    Teaching and research faculty, 24% minority


$310 million

in sponsored research awards

Research Beaker

$159 million

in federally funded grants

  • Top 3

    Virginia universities

  • 54th

    Nationally for federally funded research among public universities

  • 67th

    Nationally for all research by public universities


Total for VCU, VCU Health System and affiliated foundations (2017-18)

$4.3 billion in revenues and capital additions

$3.8 billion in expenditures

Financial aid

$68.8 million in financial aid to students (for FY 2020)

$4.7 million state financial aid allocation for FY 2020 secured

$3 million additional internal financial aid secured


Tempurature Gauge

Raised $761+ million

Goal $750 million

$761.1 million raised since the Make It Real Campaign for VCU began in 2012