Governor Ralph Northam Unveils Tuition-Free Community College Program for Low- and Middle-Income Students
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced last Thursday that his proposed budget will include $145 million over the next two years to make tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields. The governor’s “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative (G3) will provide financial support to cover tuition, fees, and books for eligible students at Virginia’s two-year public institutions, including Rappahannock Community College.
The initiative will target key industries, from health care and information technology to skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education. To remain eligible for the G3 program, students will be required to sign a Community Engagement Agreement and complete two hours of work experience, community service or public service for every credit hour enrolled.
Governor Northam participated in a state-wide workforce development listening tour in August and September where he spoke to more than 1,000 business and community leaders in every region of Virginia. Rappahannock Community College hosted the Governor in Warsaw on September 4, 2019. The Governor heard directly from businesses who struggle to find the talent they need, especially in “new collar,” or middle-skill jobs.
G3 will have a positive impact on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region and will help RCC provide the needed training and credentialing to build Virginia’s future.
“The programs supported by the G3 plan are critical to the economy in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula,” said RCC President Shannon Kennedy. “For example, this fall we have nearly 350 students enrolled in healthcare-related programs. Providing for tuition, fees and textbooks for these students through G3 will be transformational.”
Eligible students may enroll in programs leading to FastForward short-term credentials, certificates or associate degrees. To maintain eligibility for a certificate or degree program, the student must:
- Enroll in an eligible program
• Take a minimum of 6 credit hours each semester, or complete a FastForward short-term credential program
• Maintain a 2.0 GPA
• Complete a certificate in the first year
• Demonstrate progress toward completion of an associate degree
• Agree to volunteer for community service
Information about how to apply, approved programs, and other details will be available at RCC beginning in April 2020.