WARDELL, Va. — Tazewell County students will join a growing number attending Southwest Virginia Community College for free next year.
The college announced last week that an agreement between the county board of supervisors and Priscilla McCall, administrator of the estate of the late Sam McCall, will provide tuition assistance for county students who enroll at the college.
The grants will be available to all graduating seniors from the class of 2019 and forward who graduate with a grade point average of 2.0 or better.
The scholarships will cover any tuition and or fees owed after all federal funding and other financial aid is used.
Students from private schools, home schooled students and GED graduates will also be eligible for the funds. They must take at least six hours per semester and are encouraged to take 12 or more.
“Before this donation it was hard to see how we could do it. Now it is hard to see how we cannot. The opportunities this will create for so many of our young people are certainly worth the cost.” Board of Supervisors Chairman Travis Hackworth said.
Students will also be required to take part in the college’s Eagle Days off Service project. That project has college students and staff volunteering to work on projects in communities or on campus. While the scholarship doesn’t cover the cost of books, school officials say those are often covered by other scholarships. The program is called Tazewell County Connect and applications will be available before the start of fall semester.
The neighboring counties of Buchanan and Russell already have the tuition-free program in place at the community college.
Tommy Wright, president of SWCC, pitched the idea to the leaders of all three counties shortly after he became president of the institution.
The program has been used successfully in several other states including Tennessee. Classes for fall semester are slated to begin at SWCC Aug. 21.