Earlier last year, the Patrick County Education Foundation adopted a goal to raise funds for a scholarship called the Patrick County Promise. When realized, the Patrick County Promise will completely cover the tuition, textbooks, and fees for every high school graduate in Patrick County to get a two-year degree at Patrick & Henry Community College — an initiative modelled after how the Martinsville-based Harvest Foundation is paying for community college tuition in Martinsville and Henry County. The initial estimate for financing this goal was $2 million a year.
Now, new financial figures show the necessary amount is only $44,000 a year.
Why did the number change? Patrick & Henry released a statement today laying out the new figures.
P&HCC President Greg Hodges told the foundation recently that almost half of the Patrick County students currently enrolled at P&HCC already have their tuition covered through various scholarships — 48%. PCEF will only need to raise the funds to cover the remaining 52%. To cover the remaining students for their first year, the PCEF would only need to raise $44,000.
The school also credited the state community college system’s new G3 program.
In 2021, Virginia allocated $36 million to create a statewide program called G3 (which stands for “Get Skilled. Get a Job. Get Ahead.”) The G3 program covers tuition, fees, and books and provides other support for students pursuing certain in-demand fields. To be eligible, students could pursue essentially almost any degree or credential within the health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety, or early childhood education fields.
With G3, the state could cover tuition for a significant swath of Patrick County students, the foundatoin said. Students covered by G3 would not need the Patrick County Promise, too. Their tuition, books, and fees are already covered.
The Harvest Foundation’s program in Martinsville and Henry County has also had an impact in Patrick County, the school said. Because most Martinsville and Henry County seniors have their tuition covered by Harvest, additional resources are thus available for Patrick County students. More than 200 scholarships are offered through the P&HCC Foundation annually, and now, many of these are being awarded to Patrick County students, the school said.
With the target reduced from $2 million to $44,000 a year, “meeting that goal now seems even more attainable,” the school said.
“The Patrick County Education Foundation Board, through the Patrick County Promise, is promoting that economic success and education are inextricably interwoven,” said Stewart Roberson the PCEF Board Chair in a statement. “We are fortunate that the stars are aligning for all of Patrick County’s high school graduates to imagine a tuition-free college experience in their first two years. We are very, very close to assuring that this vision becomes a reality. Thanks to the entire community for your devotion and interest in closing this much smaller gap.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Patrick County Promise can visit http://patrickhenryfoundation.com/. Cick “donate now” and select “Patrick County Promise” in the “Designated Gifts” menu. Alternatively, donors can contact Tiffani Underwood, Executive Director of the Patrick & Henry Community College Foundation directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 276.656.0281.