"Because they got into an Ivy or MIT, or some school that's actually more recognizable than UVA."
Hah! Very funny! Actually, probably all if not almost all have been accepted at the Ivies. And I'm not talking Cornell and Penn, I'm talking HYP and Columbia, and outside of the Ivies the Scholarship draws people away From Stanford and every small lib. arts college you could think of. Several people who are offered the Jefferson Scholarship each year will indeed turn it down for those schools, but you'll find at least as many who go the other way.
I turned down Yale for the Jefferson scholarship... did you get it? I'm Jia Tolentino, we might've crossed paths if you were up there for selection weekend. But yeah, I'm taking it, and it was my impression that most if not all of the kids who got it were accepted to Ivies.
The Jefferson scholarship is not given by the University and carries no benefits that are directly supported by the university. It includes a full tuition+room+board stipend for 4 years plus a few other assorted benefits. Echols Scholars, on the other hand, are recognized by the university and are given certain benefits, but receive no money.