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G3 Launches – Virginia’s Tuition-Free Program for In-Demand Careers

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Southwest Virginia Community College is now offering a way for residents of the Commonwealth to obtain a degree, certificate, or workforce credential tuition-free. 

Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation creating his signature “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative, or “G3” program on March 29th, 2021, which makes tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields. The G3 program includes $36 million to cover tuition, fees, and books and provide wraparound support for eligible students at the Commonwealth’s two-year public institutions.   

Governor Northam’s press release: 

The program goes into effect July 1, 2021, but students can apply and enroll now for classes at Southwest. A listing of all programs that are being offered tuition-free thanks to G3 at the college is available at: 

The G3 Program is a tuition assistance program for any Virginia resident who qualifies for in-state tuition and whose family income falls below an identified threshold (less than or equal to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, or roughly an income of $100,000 for a family of four). Eligible students may enroll in designated programs leading to jobs in high-demand fields. 

The designated programs fall into five targeted career areas that are in high demand in Virginia: Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing and Skilled Trades, Early Childhood Education, and Public Safety. 

Each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges has a list of approved G3 programs in the five targeted career areas. The programs are designed to be “stackable,” meaning that each program starts with skills training that leads to a certificate with immediate value in the labor market. Because the certificate is part of an associate degree, a working student can continue to “stack” additional certificates on the pathway to an associate degree. 

Additional FAQ about G3: 

In addition to the G3 program, Southwest offers more than 250 scholarships and funding from federal, state and local sources, removing the financial barrier of attending college that many students face. 

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