Patrick Henry Community College received the prominent Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative Award from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) to increase high school and college completion. The award was renamed to honor the legacy of Gerald L. Baliles, the 65th governor of Virginia, a native of rural Patrick County and a forward-thinking leader.
Baliles worked to ensure that all Virginians had access to education and training.
The Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI) Award aimed to reduce the number of rural residents without a high school diploma from 1 in 5 to 1 in 10, and to increase the number of rural residents with an associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate from 26 percent to 52 percent.
To date, RVHI has provided more than $10 million in direct and matching funding toward achieving these goals. Significant outcomes indicate that the population of the RVHI region aged 25 and over without a high school degree has decreased by 4.2 percent and those with at least an associate degree has increased by 4.0 percent.
The funds are used to provide tuition assistance to needy students as well as emergency dollars to help overcome barriers like childcare and transportation which are often major impediments to completion.
“RVHI continues to be a critical piece of the student success work at Patrick Henry Community College,” said Greg Hodges, PHCC’s Vice President of Academic and Student Success Services. “The fact that this fund is named for Gov. Baliles, a native son of Patrick County, makes the dollars even more precious.”
PHCC was one of 13 community colleges to receive the award following a competitive application process.