Note: Click here for more detailed information on the new program. TSL will have more on this new program later this afternoon.
BLACKSBURG – Following more than a year of extensive research and analysis, the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund announced Monday that it will introduce a new Hokie Scholarship Fund program that is set to go into effect for the 2017-18 athletics season.
This marks the first modification to the Hokie Club giving level requirements in more than two decades. Virginia Tech football and men’s basketball season ticket holders in certain designated locations will be asked to meet minimum per-seat gift contribution in 2017, of which 80 percent is tax deductible. These minimum per-seat gift contributions will count toward a donor’s Hokie Club annual scholarship fund giving levels.
“The Hokie Club was founded in 1949 to provide scholarships for Virginia Tech student-athletes,” Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “In the past five years alone, scholarship costs have risen approximately 60 percent, while our annual fund scholarship revenue has remained fairly flat. With costs rising across the board for student-athlete support in scholarships/tuition, travel, facility upgrades and cost of attendance allowance, the need for consistent revenue has never been more vital. With approximately only four percent of Virginia Tech living alumni giving to athletics, the Hokie Club must work to expand membership and to increase its scholarship fund revenue levels to continue as one of the nation’s elite programs.”
Virginia Tech has a desire to provide for the scholarship needs for nearly 550 student-athletes while creating a cycle of sustainable excellence through reinvestment of revenue. To build a program toward achieving this goal, Virginia Tech Athletics commissioned a process that included data collection from season ticket holders, ACC and Power Five peer institutions, and focus groups, as well as a comprehensive look at schools recently implementing major priority seating changes to assess exactly where Virginia Tech and the Hokie Club stood in relation to other nationally prominent programs.
One of the key revelations among the findings was that Virginia Tech Athletics is one of the only major college athletics programs in the country that does not align season ticket locations with minimum donations and participate in a traditional per-seat scholarship giving model. As a result, Virginia Tech now risks being placed at a disadvantage to other nationally prominent athletics programs should the current system continue.
“This year, the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund received $9.8 million in donor support toward the scholarship fund,” Senior Associate AD for Development and Executive Director of the Hokie Club Bill Lansden said. “While this amount is significant, it is still around $3.5 million shy of the current scholarship costs for Virginia Tech student-athletes, which is approximately $14 million. As a result, Virginia Tech must invest revenue from other areas to cover this basic educational cost, thereby limiting investment in other areas of the athletics department.”
To allow for thorough education and adequate time for review of all options in relation to the new structure, the Hokie Scholarship Fund program will not go into effect until March 31, 2017.
“The education of Hokie Nation regarding the new programmatic structure is very important to us. Hokie Club and athletics department staff members will be traveling around the region to host 27 informational ‘Town Hall’ meetings,” Assistant AD for Development and External Engagement Carly Northup said. “In addition, this week we are also launching a specific scholarship fund website on hokiesports.com and mailing out informative, educational packets to our current donors and season ticket holders. We are appreciative of the support of Hokie Nation and we look forward to working with them as we strive to prepare our Hokies Today to be Champions for Life.”
For more information on the Hokie Scholarship Fund program, please visit http://www.hokiesports.com/hokiescholarshipfund