Patrick & Henry Community College (P&HCC) received the Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI) Award – a $50,000 award from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE). The VFCCE provided P&HCC and ten other schools with RVHI awards as a way to help close the educational attainment gap between the Rural Horseshoe region and the state at large.
Named for the 65th governor of Virginia, the award honors Baliles’ legacy of promoting educational accessibility. The primary goals of the RVHI program are to reduce the number of rural residents without a high school diploma and to increase the number of rural residents with an associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate.
“Rural Virginia needs a targeted investment to take care of its next generation so the entire Commonwealth can prosper,” said Stewart Roberson, VFCCE’s board chair.
At P&HCC the funds will be used in two ways to serve two different populations. First, the college will use the funds to support Career Coaches who work directly with high school students to encourage high school completion, transition to college, and college completion. The remaining funds will be used to provide aid and cover the cost of tuition and books for at-risk students. The funds help meet the financial needs that threaten to inhibit retention and completion of a program.
“From our experience and our research, coaching and wrap-around support are truly the two tools that make the most impact on student retention,” says Meghan Eggleston, P&HCC’s Director of Dual Enrollment and Off-Campus Administration. “This award enables us to do exactly that.”
By investing in rural education, the VFCCE is working with Virginia’s Community Colleges to promote opportunities to pursue higher education and a more equitable Commonwealth.