In 1872, Virginia Tech was founded as a land-grant institution and was known as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. There was some contention as to where the school should be located. The Preston family owned large estates near Blacksburg and a close friend of the family, Judge Waller R. Staples, pressured legislators to locate the school on their land. The county raised $20,000 and offered a brick building and grounds, which were known as the Preston and Olin Institute, as a nucleus for the college. This building burned in 1913. The Preston farm, known as Solitude, was actually three adjoining farms and they made up the biggest part of the campus. It is said that the mansion known as “Solitude,” where the president of the school resides, is an enlargement of what was once a hewn-log house.
When the school opened, there were no dormitories and students roomed where they could in town. Eventually, the school built a long, one-story building and many cadets roomed there, taking their meals in a building known as “Luster’s Hotel.”
The name was changed in 1896 by the Virginia General Assembly to the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, a name that was so long it was shortened to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, or VPI. The school initially served only white students with Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute serving black students. Eventually, the Normal school became Virginia State University.
In 1944, the legislature officially changed the name of the school to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and most of the women’s programs were moved to nearby Radford College, whose name was officially changed to Radford College, Women’s Division of Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The two schools officially separated in 1964. In 1970, the school was renamed again, this time to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Eventually, the school became known as Virginia Tech, although some older alumni still refer to it as VPI.
Up until 1923, Virginia Tech required corps participation for four years of every male student. The number of years required was reduced to two until 1964 when it became voluntary. Virginia Tech remains one of three public universities, along with North Georgia and Texas A&M, with both an active corps of cadets and “civilian” lifestyle on campus.
Today, Virginia Tech has almost 30,600 students enrolled, with almost 83 percent undergraduates and just over 17 percent graduate students. Times Higher Education World University Rankings list Virginia Tech as one of the world’s top universities and the school is in the top ten percent in the QS World University Rankings.
Virginia Tech Accreditation Details
Virginia Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and schools. When a college receives accreditation, students are assured that the school meets or exceeds criteria that indicates excellence in education. In addition, specific programs are accredited by the following organizations or agencies:
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- American Chemical Society
- American Council for Construction Education
- American Dietetic Association
- American Psychological Association
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International
- Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards
- Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education
- Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
- Council for Interior Design Accreditation
- Council on Education for Public Health
- Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board
- National Architectural Accreditation Board
- National Association of Schools of Art and Design
- National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation
- National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
- National Association of Schools of Theatre
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
- Planning Accreditation Board
- Public Relations Society of America
- Society of American Foresters
- Society of Wood Science and Technology
- U.S. Army Cadet Command
Virginia Tech Application Requirements
Undergraduate students who have not completed more than 12 hours of college credits are considered freshmen. Students may complete either a paper or online application. Students must provide SAT or ACT scores as well as an official high school transcript and mid-year high school grades.
Students who have completed more than 12 hours of college credit are considered transfer students. Students may apply with either a paper or online application. Students must provide college transcripts from all colleges and universities attended as well as a high school transcript.
Graduate students must complete an application online and provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, one of which must indicate the awarding of a bachelor’s degree or higher. Students must provide letters of recommendation and may be required to provide GMAT or GRE scores.
Virginia Tech Tuition and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition for Virginia residents is $449.50 per credit hour and $1,137.75 for non-Virginia residents. Graduate tuition is $692.50 per credit hour for Virginia residents and $1,394.25 for non-Virginia residents. Virtual campus tuition is $786.75 for Virginia residents and $1,494.25 for non-Virginia residents.
Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and work-study programs. Graduate students may also qualify for assistantships. In order to qualify for financial aid at Virginia Tech, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Virginia Tech Student Experience
Approximately 9,300 students live on-campus at Virginia Tech. Starting with the 2016-17 school year, the third floor of Newman Hall is designated as a substance-free housing option. Students who choose to live on this floor agree to refrain from possession of illegal substances and/or tobacco in their rooms, including electronic cigarettes, although smoking is not permitted in any residence hall. Alcohol is not permitted in the dorms on this floor regardless of the age of the student. While on the floor, students may not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Off campus housing is also available and Virginia Tech offers assistance to students in finding off campus locations.
There are more than 700 clubs and organizations available for students at Virginia Tech. Students may choose from sports, program specific or other organizations which will provide them with hands-on experience in their field of study, provide additional fitness options or promote their service to the community. There are also performing groups, religious and spiritual life organizations and recreation options.
Health and safety is an important part of student life at Virginia Tech. Students are able to seek assistance through the Cook Counseling Center and the Schiffert Health Center. There are 89 blue light safety phones throughout the campus which connect directly with campus emergency operators. All sidewalks and paths are well-lit for safety and lighting is routinely checked. All residential buildings are now locked 24 hours each day, seven days each week and only residents with a key card may access their residence. Alarms sound if doorways are propped open to residence halls. The school also offers phone and computer alerts that warn of any safety issues that exist on or off campus.
Blacksburg offers award-winning services, a reasonable cost of living and is consistently ranked among the country’s best places to live. The downtown area offers unique stores, art galleries and eclectic restaurants. The area provides students with many opportunities to socialize, attend cultural events and even obtain part-time employment.
Virginia Tech has been serving students for almost 150 years, providing award-winning education to those seeking advanced education from around the globe. The school is located in Blacksburg, often cited as one of the best places to live in the country. In addition, Virginia Tech offers a safe, vibrant campus designed to promote learning while also providing students with extra-curricular activities that will help them succeed after graduation.