Piedmont Virginia Community College students are eligible to get all of their tuition paid for the spring term as the school will continue its PVCC4U100%! assistance program, college officials announced on Tuesday.
The program paid the way for 430 students in the fall term and officials are expecting similar totals for spring term. The program is available to all new and returning students who enroll in the spring 2022 semester, providing they meet eligibility requirements.
“PVCC is 100% committed to helping ensure access to quality education. We are thrilled to be able to extend our commitment to fully cover tuition and fees for as many students as possible for the upcoming spring semester,” said PVCC President Frank Friedman, in a prepared statement. “We know that over 430 students have benefitted from the program, many of whom would be unable to attend our college without this assistance.”
The school launched the program in May 2021. It covers tuition and fees for eligible students with eligibility standards in reach of most of those who apply. To be eligible, a student must be a Virginia resident, have a family income of $100,000 or less or have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19, complete the financial aid application process and enroll in 6 credit hours or more for spring semester.
As of Tuesday, PVCC fall enrollment was 5,014. That’s 126 more students over fall 2020, for a 2.6% increase in enrollment, officials said.
PVCC was one of only 5 of the state’s 23 community colleges to see an enrollment increase this fall and had the second-largest increase of the community colleges.
For fall, 431 students received $508,842 to cover the full cost of their tuition and fees. For the entire year, school officials expect to spend about $1.4 million to cover tuition for more than 700 students.
The program covers those costs that other financial assistance programs may not cover.
“Across Virginia, we are seeing far too many students miss out on the benefits of financial aid. [The program] has allowed us to break from this trend by encouraging more students to complete the financial aid process,” said Friedman.
Virginia is currently ranked 26th among states for students completing the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. About 53% of students who start the process actually complete it.
Virginia education officials estimate that about 15,000 Virginia high school seniors may have been eligible for grants but did not complete the FAFSA.
The offer of free tuition has increased the number of FAFSA forms submitted to PVCC, school officials said. From October 2020 through June 2021, 4,064 students submitted FAFSA applications but 4,200 FAFSAs have already been submitted for the 2021-2022 school year.
Established in 1972, PVCC is a nonresidential community college primarily serving students from Charlottesville and Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties. It is one of 23 community colleges in Virginia.