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Germanna Selected for Pell Grant Pilot Program

Germanna Community College (GCC) is one of 44 colleges across the U.S. participating in an experimental program that will allow high schools students with financial need to receive federal Pell Grants to enter dual enrollment programs.

The programs give the students the opportunity to earn associate degrees by the time they graduate from high school, and transfer to universities with two years of college credit already under their belts.

The Obama administration will invest about $20 million in the project for the 2016-17 school year, to help about 10,000 students. “A Department of Education official said the amount of money each college will receive will be determined by the number of applications it has for dual enrollment Pell Grants, and the depth of each applicant’s financial need,” said Mike Zitz, Germanna public information officer. GCC applied last fall to become part of the program, Zitz said.

Germanna has a similar program based at its Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania. There the Gladys P. Todd Academy, funded by philanthropist Doris Buffett, helps low income, first generation students from James Monroe and Spotsylvania high schools, as well as students at Walker-Grant and Post Oak Middle Schools. By the time that program begins its second year in August, about 50 high school juniors and seniors are expected to be involved on a two-year pathway to associate’s degrees.

GCC also has a Germanna Scholars program at its Daniel Center in Culpeper, that involves both partial and full scholarships for students. Funding from Culpeper businessman Joe Daniel launched that program two years ago, and the first cohort of 22 students from Culpeper and Eastern View High Schools graduated from Germanna in May 2016.

“Germanna is pleased and honored to be one of 44 colleges to pilot this effort,” said Germanna President David A. Sam. “We hope this leads to full Pell Grants being available to high school dual enrollment students and their parents throughout Virginia and the nation. Too often dual enrollment courses are available only to families who can afford the tuition books and fees. Students should not have to wait until leaving high school for this benefit. As Sen. Mark Warner said to me, ‘What’s the difference if the federal government pays for four years of Pell starting in high school or after?’”

Sam said community colleges tuition is half to one-third that of tuition at public four year colleges, so “the taxpayer will benefit as well. This is a win-win-win any way you look at it and Germanna is proud to be one of the pioneers. We thank Orange and Culpeper County Schools for their partnership in this effort.”

Education Secretary John King Jr. said too many bright students with financial need haven’t been challenged enough and haven’t been prepared enough for college. “The courses students take while in high school and the support they get to succeed in those courses are major factors in not only whether students go to college but also in how well they will do when they get there,” King said in a call. “The more rigorous and engaging the classes are, the better.”

2016 Postsecondary Institutions Invited to Participate in the Program
The 44 postsecondary institutions across 23 states invited to participate are:

         Adams State University (Alamosa, Colorado)

         Asnuntuck Community College (Enfield, Connecticut)

         Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York)

         Benedict College (Colombia, South Carolina)

         Bristol Community College (Fall River, Massachusetts)

         Carl Sandburg College (Galesburg, Illinois)

         Cayuga Community College (Auburn, New York)

         Central Virginia Community College (Lynchburg, Virginia)

         College of Southern Maryland (La Plata, Maryland) 

         Community College of Beaver County (Monaca, Pennsylvania)

         Cowley County Community College (Arkansas City, Kansas)

         Gateway Community College (New Haven, Connecticut)

         George C. Wallace State University (Hanceville, Alabama)

         Germanna Community College (Fredericksburg, Virginia)

         Glenville State College (Glenville, West Virginia)

         Guilford Community College (Jamestown, North Carolina)

         Hagerstown Community College (Hagerstown, Maryland)

         Holyoke Community College (Holyoke, Massachusetts)

         Illinois Central College (East Peoria, Illinois)

         Jackson State University (Jackson, Mississippi)

         Leeward Community College (Oahu, Hawaii)

         Louisiana State University (Eunice, Louisiana)

         Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Perkinstown, Mississippi)

         Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury, Connecticut)

         Niagara County Community College (Sanborn, New York)

         North Country Community College (Saranac Lake, New York)

         Northeast State Community College (Blountville, Tennessee)

         Northeastern Technical College (Cheraw, South Carolina)

         Norwalk Community College (Norwalk, Connecticut)

         Owensboro Community and Technical College (Owensboro, Kentucky)

         Quinebaug Valley Community College (Danielson, Connecticut)

         Ranger College (Ranger, Texas)

         Ranken Technical College (St. Louis, Missouri)

         Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, New Hampshire)

         Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis, Tennessee)

         Southwestern Illinois College (Belleville, Illinois)

         Sullivan County Community College (Loch Sheldrake, New York)

         SUNY Adirondack (Queensbury, New York)

         SUNY Rockland Community College (Suffern, New York)

         Three Rivers Community College (Norwich, Connecticut)

         University of Arkansas Community College (Hope, Arkansas)

         University of Nevada (Reno, Nevada)

         Urban College of Boston (Boston, Massachusetts)

         William R. Moore College of Technology (Memphis, Tennessee)

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