The Cavalier Academic Achievement Fund is designed to raise funds to support academic achievement awards, encouraging student-athletes to take full advantage of the academic experience at the University of Virginia.
This new opportunity is the latest addition to Virginia Athletics and the Virginia Athletics Foundation’s ongoing commitment to support a nationally competitive program and to continue to invest in the student-athlete experience. As with funding scholarships, academic support, and a portion of the Olympic sports budgets, donor contributions will be needed to fund this $1.9 million new annual investment.
These awards are now available to student-athletes as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in NCAA v. Alston, which allows all institutions the ability to reward student-athletes for academic achievement up to $5,980 annually. UVA student-athletes will be eligible to receive this award through participation in the Department of Athletics’ Pathways program. This unique program will facilitate new growth opportunities across all areas of a holistic student-athlete experience, including career readiness and networking, leadership and personal development, and community engagement. Student-athletes will also have access to a variety of experiential opportunities and an extensive network of UVA alumni and friends who are engaged in the Pathways program. Additionally, coaches and staff will be able to offer an array of team-based workshops and service opportunities that are integrated with the Pathways program.
Not only do these awards reinforce the University’s focus on a well-rounded educational experience, but they are also an important aspect of the recruiting process. As a majority of Power Five institutions across the country include these awards in addition to scholarship offers, University of Virginia coaches will need to have the same ability to remain competitive in the recruiting process.
Student-athletes are now eligible to receive these awards, and full implementation of this effort across all sports will be dependent on fundraising success. Gifts to the Cavalier Academic Achievement Fund are encouraged to be in addition to regular commitments to the Annual Fund. They do not qualify donors to ticket and parking benefits but do count toward donor priority points.
As the landscape of college athletics continues to evolve, this opportunity will ensure that Virginia Athletics can continue to recruit the very best student-athletes to Grounds and enrich their academic experience.
WE ARE ALREADY STARTING TO SEE THE IMPACT OF THESE ACADEMIC AWARDS IN THE RECRUITING PROCESS AND HAVING THE ABILITY TO OFFER THESE TO OUR STUDENT-ATHLETES AS PART OF THE PATHWAYS PROGRAM IS CRITICAL TO OUR RECRUITING SUCCESS.”
— Fralin Family Head Football Coach Tony Elliott
CAVALIER ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FUND Q&A
Why is there a Cavalier Academic Achievement Fund?
In 2021, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the NCAA v. Alston case to allow athletics departments to provide education-related benefits to student-athletes, which includes academic achievement awards up to $5,980 per year. This award is in addition to scholarships. The Cavalier Academic Achievement Fund was initiated to create a revenue stream from philanthropic contributions to fund these awards.
How will student-athletes earn this award?
Athletics departments can define the criteria for student-athletes to earn these awards. At UVA, student-athletes will be eligible to receive these awards after completing the Pathways program, which is a customized development program to facilitate new growth opportunities for student-athletes. This program is designed to enhance each student-athlete’s educational experience with learning opportunities in areas of career readiness and networking, leadership and personal development, and community engagement.
Will contributions to this fund count towards my Annual Fund commitment and priority points?
Gifts to this fund are encouraged to be in addition to gifts to the Annual Fund since they will fund a new expense. They will not count towards annual giving levels or impact ticket/parking eligibility, and therefore are 100 percent tax-deductible. Priority points will be awarded as part of the cumulative giving portion of the priority point formula.
Can I make a pledge and pay it over multiple years?
Yes, multi-year pledges (up to five years) are encouraged. These awards will be allocated annually, and funds will need to be raised each year to have the resources to cover the total cost of $1.9 million per year.
How will these awards impact recruiting?
In addition to rewarding student-athletes for maximizing their academic experience at UVA, funding these awards for all sports will be an important aspect of recruiting. Many of our competitors are already awarding these funds to student-athletes, in addition to scholarships, and are incorporating the financial impact as part of the recruiting process. Our coaches will need to be able to provide these awards and confirm them during the recruiting process to remain competitive.
THE ACADEMIC REPUTATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A KEY COMPONENT OF THE OVERALL STUDENT-ATHLETE EXPERIENCE. TO BE ABLE TO FURTHER RECOGNIZE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH THESE AWARDS WILL ONLY ENHANCE THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR STUDENT-ATHLETES. FROM A RECRUITING STANDPOINT, THE LANDSCAPE OF COLLEGE ATHLETICS IS CHANGING RAPIDLY, AND OUR COMPETITORS ARE OFFERING ALSTON AWARDS TO THEIR STUDENT-ATHLETES. FOR US TO CONTINUE TO COMPETE AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL, INCLUDING THIS ADDITIONAL SUPPORT IS VITAL FOR THE FUTURE OF UVA ATHLETICS.”
— Women’s Tennis Head Coach Sara O’Leary
Additional Ways to Make a Gift
For more information on additional ways to make a gift toward the Cavalier Academic Achievement Fund, visit VirginiaAthleticsFoundation.com/how-to-make-a-gift or contact the Virginia Athletics Foundation at 434.982.5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.